The European parquet markets had generally well started the year showing stable to slightly positive trends in January and February. But March and the arrival of the Covid-19 virus on the European territory put an end to this positive move. 

Compared to the same period in the previous year, the preliminary results for the first three months of 2020 indicate stable parquet consumption in Scandinavia (except for structural reasons in Sweden), the Baltic States and even Germany, where a large part of the business activity will continue for the time being. On the other hand, southern Europe, where stricter restrictions are in place, generally already shows a significant decline in parquet consumption.

Parquet sales in Italy and Austria decreased by 10% in the 1st quarter compared to the first three months of 2019. January and February went well in Austria, but the market collapsed in March. Italy has been rather subdued since the beginning of the year and parcel sales have been on a downward path since February. Parquet consumption in France declined by 15 to 17% in the first quarter of 2020. In January and February everything was still developing normally, but then also slumped in March. Switzerland recorded a 8% drop in parquet consumption. After stagnation at the beginning of the year, the last two weeks of March came to a standstill.

A brief per country recap is provided in the table below:

Market overview for Q1/2020

Austria The Austrian parquet sales significantly decreased by 10% during the first quarter 2020compared to the first three months of 2019. Activity was good in January and February, but the market collapsed in March. Some companies have stopped activities, shops are closed or work on-line only.

Baltic States Baltic countries’ parquet markets remained flat during the first quarter of the current year.Activities are so far continuing in these countries.

Denmark The Danish parquet market was flat during the first quarter 2020. Project market is still doing well while the retail shops have started to close with the crisis. People are nevertheless working a lot at home for refurbishing.

Finland While the Finnish market does not seem to be hit by the crisis so far, starts of new (premium) buildings are declining. All in all, parquet sales were stable on the Finnish market during the first quarter 2020.

France Compared to the first three months of 2019, parquet consumption fell by 15 to 17% during the first quarter 2020. January and February were normal months of activity, but the French parquet market collapsed in March. All shops are closed. All factories have stopped their activities.

Germany Parquet sales were flat (0 to -1%) in Germany during the first quarter 2020. The German market was stable until beginning of March which started well compared to 2019. Retail shops are now closed but DIY shops are open in most of the Lands. Companies and installers are still working. Production and construction activities are continuing (with restrictions) for the time being.

Italy The Italian parquet market declined by 10% during the three first months of the current year.Activity in January was slow then Italy was the first European country hit by the crisis. Allf actories and shops are closed at least until mid-April and the comeback to normality will take time.

Norway Data indicates that the Norwegian market remained flat during the three first months of 2020. Restrictive measures are not as strong as in the South of Europe, but Norwegian are staying at home and demand for DIY products for refurbishment, such as paintings, is increasing. This does not concern parquet. Impacts of the unexpected weak Norwegian krone on the 2nd quarter’s activity are difficult to predict at this stage.

Spain The Spanish market was stable during the first quarter of the year 2020. The quarter started well but March and the crisis put an end to this positive move. Strong lock-down measures are also in place in Spain.

Sweden Parquet consumption decreased slightly by 3 to 4% during the first quarter 2020 compared to the first quarter 2019. This slight decline is due to structural changes, such as the decrease of starting of new buildings, but does not reflect the current crisis as life is almost normal inSweden: businesses and shops are open.

Switzerland Data indicates that parquet consumption fell by 8% in Switzerland during the three first months of 2020. The Swiss market was stagnating before plunging the two last weeks of March.Construction sites are closed and activities reduced. The restriction measures are significantly tougher in the French speaking part of the country.

The post EU parquet market severely hit by the coronavirus crisis appeared first on Timber Industry News.