The member companies of the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF, registered in Bielefeld/Germany) can be very content with the market development of the past year: despite worldwide economic decline and continued structural changes in international trade, business in 2002 has been rather positive. The association’s annual evaluation of internal, quarterly collected data on sales figures confirms a significant increase in the laminate flooring production of Europe in 2002 and thus a leading role of the EPLF’s members in the global market.
In 2002 the 21 member companies of the EPLF have sold more than 334 million square meters of laminate flooring “made in Europe“ (previous year: 20 members sold 274 mil. m²). This represents an increase in the European production by EPLF members of 60 million m². Traditionally the strongest market for EPLF members, sales in Western Europe, grew by 36 million to 202 million square meters (previous year: 166 million square meters), which gives this market a share of 60 percent of the total sales.
As in previous years top positions are held by Germany (59 mil. m²), Great Britain (45 mil. m²), France (29 mil. m²), and the Netherlands (16 mil. m²). These markets account for a share of 74 percent of all European sales. The dynamic development of the entire European laminate flooring market, which grew by 54 million m² in 2002 – despite a global economic downturn and poor business prognosis – is reflective of the innovative power and the high potential of the laminate flooring producers organized in the EPLF.
Sales of 20 mil. m² in the “Asia-Pacific“ region present a slight increase (previous year: 18 mil. m²) and have occurred despite opposite expectations and trend prognosis. Reasons for this development are the opening of new markets and the addition of market shares in Asia. Single markets that deserve special mention are Turkey and South Korea. For China, though, the 2002 sales figures continued to decline for European products. This can be traced back to an increasing number of production sites or joint ventures of EPLF members locally, which are not captured in the EPLF sales statistics.
The North American market has remained rather stable in 2002 at the level of the previous year with 58 mil. m² with a small increase of 3 mil. m² (previous year:
55 mil. m²). Eastern Europe showed a positive development in 2002. The sales of the EPLF member companies grew from 28 mil. m² in 2001 to 46 mil. m² in 2002. Particularly small markets such as Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic, where high growth rates are achieved, are markets, which obviously still have large sales potentials. In the greater regions of Africa, Australia, and South America, statistically grouped in “Others”, sales have doubled from 4 mil. m² in 2001 to
8 mil. m² in 2002.
Once again, the bottom line of the laminate flooring producers organized in the EPLF in 2002 has been positive: sales increases were realized and new market shares have been won. The basis for this global success is a strict quality management, clever marketing and a differentiated view of international markets.