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Despite the currently difficult environment the German furniture industry is continuing its export offensive. 

“Even if the strong German market is currently helping us: The export quota of almost a third can be significantly expanded in the medium term,” says Jan Kurth, managing director of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM).

Within Europe, he sees growth opportunities in Scandinavia in particular. “The region offers our manufacturers promising opportunities to expand their business.”

The Export Working Group, which VDM wants to use to strengthen the international activities of the industry in the long term, has defined Sweden, Denmark and Norway as further priority countries – alongside the USA, China and Russia.

On behalf of VDM, the Furniture Club analyzed the three Scandinavian markets under the aspect of feasibility for the export of German furniture. In view of the strong national furniture industries, the furniture business in the countries is quite competitive and challenging, the study found.

Despite high consumer income, the markets are price-sensitive, which should not pose a new challenge for German manufacturers. The topic of sustainability also plays a significant role.

As part of the export offensive, a joint German participation in the furniture and furnishing fair Stockholm Furniture & Light Show is planned, which is to take place from February 9th to 13th. “The participants in the German Pavilion have the opportunity to make new, interesting customer contacts on favorable terms,”

The foreign business of German furniture manufacturers suffered noticeably in the first half of 2020 from the negative effects of the Corona crisis. German exports fell from January to June by 11.9% to € 3.3 billion.

In most countries, sales fell significantly as a result of lockdown measures, travel restrictions, the negative consequences of Brexit and the trade conflict between the US and China. Switzerland, now the most important export market for the German furniture industry, was an exception, with exports increasing by 4.6% to € 517 million.

In addition, the world’s largest furniture market – China – fortunately found its old strength very quickly after overcoming the consequences of the Corona crisis: German furniture exports to China climbed 1.9% to around € 74 million in the first half of 2020.

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