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The market remains tough! Stable in Western Europe, declining in Eastern Europe

18 January 2010

The situation on the laminate flooring market remains tough due to the global economic crisis. While the second half of 2009 showed slight upwards trends in individual European countries, sales generated by manufacturers in the EPLF European Producers of Laminate Flooring generally remained below those of the previous year, as illustrated by the EPLF's final sales statistics for 2009.

In 2009, the 21 ordinary member companies of the EPLF generated global sales of 443 million m² for European-made laminate flooring (compared with 462 million m² in the previous year). This represents a decline of 4.4 % in global market sales in 2009.

In the European laminate flooring industry, the core markets in Western Europe have remained stable throughout the crisis. They have even recorded a slight increase, as sales have risen from 270 million m² in 2008 to 285 million m² in 2009, an increase of 5.6 %.

With sales of 85 million m² (the same figure as in the previous year), Germany remains the single largest market in Europe and is the highest-ranking market in Western Europe. France has recorded a slight drop with 39 million m² (compared with 40 million m² in the previous year), but it remains in second place. A new entry to third place is Turkey with 36 million m², which is included in the EPLF statistics for Western Europe. But this result is primarily thanks to the two new Turkish EPLF member companies, Yildiz Sunta MDF and Yildiz Entegre. The UK, having generated sales of 33 million m² (the same figure as in the previous year) remains stable, but falls to fourth place behind Turkey. The Netherlands has recorded a slight drop with 21 million (22 million m² in the previous year) and occupies fifth place. Spain, meanwhile, having generated sales of 16 million m² (compared with 18 million m² in the previous year), has fallen to sixth place.

The situation in Eastern Europe is much less encouraging. With sales of 97 million m² in 2009 (compared with 130 million m² in the previous year), Eastern European manufacturers of laminate flooring have recorded a drop in sales of 25 % compared with 2008. Poland has achieved the highest sales in Eastern Europe and has remained relatively stable throughout the crisis. Due to the collapse of the rouble and poor exchange rates, Russia, which is the second-largest market in Eastern Europe, recorded sales of just 17 million m², a dramatic decline compared with last year’s figure of 27 million m². Romania, which generated sales of 12 million m² (compared with 18 million m² in the previous year), also recorded a considerable drop in sales. In Bulgaria, which was among the growth markets before the crisis, sales have almost halved, falling from 6 to 3 million m².

North America and Asia are markets that are largely served by regional suppliers, but also by EPLF member companies that have production plants in these markets. In North America, sales for 2009 stood at 36 million m², remaining stable compared with the previous year. The majority of sales were made on the US market, which saw a slight drop to 20 million m² from 21 million m² in the previous year. Canada, on the other hand, recorded a slight increase to 16 million m² from 15 million m² in the previous year. In Asia, the total sales generated by European manufacturers amounted to around 8 million m². This relatively low volume is due to the large number of local suppliers, particularly in China.

With sales of 11 million m² (compared with 12 million m² in the previous year) South America is at the lower end of the overall statistics. What is particularly interesting is that sales are largely distributed between two countries: Mexico and Chile. Brazil, which is often described as the growth market of South America, has a lot of catching up to do in terms of sales of laminate flooring.

In Africa, South Africa and Egypt are still the only markets of interest. Sales, which amounted to 2 million m², are approximately the same as Australia and New Zealand put together.

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