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Decline on global market – slight growth in Eastern Europe 2008 sales trends on the laminate flooring market

19 January 2009

The global laminate flooring sales of the EPLF European Producers of Laminate Flooring are likely to be lower than the previous year’s figures. This is revealed by the projection of EPLF’s sales figures for the first three quarters of 2008. However, the overall results should be viewed in comparison with the performance of other floor coverings. Relatively speaking, the industry is performing well.

In 2008, the 19 producers which belonged to EPLF (a figure which has since risen to 21) sold 469 million m² of European-made laminate flooring around the world, compared with 507 million m² in the previous year. This represents a decline of 7.5% in global market sales.

Unsettled by the crisis in the global economy, a decline in building investments and general reluctance to spend, Western Europe is experiencing a tangible fall in sales. In 2008 sales in Western Europe amounted to 272 million m², a fall of 7.8% compared with the previous year (295 million m²).

The traditional markets of Germany, France and the UK fell short of expectations in 2008. With sales of 85 million m², compared with
96 million m² in the previous year, the German market showed the greatest decline, but remains the single most important market in Europe. France performed relatively well in 2008 with 40 million m²
(42 million m² in the previous year) and retains its second place in the sales ranking. UK sales fell from 39 million m² in 2007 to 32 million m² in 2008, placing it third. Sales in the Netherlands remained stable at 22 million m² (22 million m² in the previous year), placing it fourth, while Spain dropped to fifth place with 19 million m² (22 million m² in the previous year).

The situation on the Eastern European markets is more encouraging. European laminate flooring manufacturers sold 131 million m² in Eastern Europe in 2008, a slight increase of 1.5% over the previous year
(129 million m²). Poland and Russia notched up sales of 33 million m² and 27 million m² respectively, approaching the sales figures of Western European markets. Sales were also strong in Romania and Hungary, two countries offering further growth potential in years to come.

The figures for North America and Asia continue to decline owing to the construction of local production plants. A large number of EPLF member companies have a presence here, but these sales are not included in EPLF statistics. In North America sales of European-made laminate flooring fell from 54 million m² to 38 million m². The greatest decline was seen on the US market, which shrank from 34 million m² to 23 million m². Sales in the Asian region totalled approximately 8 million m² . This low volume is due to the large number of local suppliers, particularly in China.

South America remained stable with modest sales of 12 million m². Mexico and Chile emerged as particularly promising markets. In Africa, South Africa and Egypt are still the only markets of interest.

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