Annualized figures kept by the EPLF to record sales growth paint a picture for 2006 that must be viewed in various parts. While sales in Germany and other European markets are rising, sales of laminate flooring “made in Europe” on the global market are actually falling. This fall is due in part to the construction of production plants by various EPLF member companies in the US, whose sales figures are not included in the EPLF statistics. However, it is also the result of increased exports from China to the US. Overall, therefore, the satisfaction felt by European manufacturers is somewhat limited.
Worldwide in 2006, the 20 member companies of the EPLF achieved sales of 459 million m² of laminate flooring manufactured within Europe (previous year = 465 million m²). This represents a fall in global market sales of 1.2%. The market share held by EPLF member companies in the world market is estimated by the Association at around 60%.
Small growth was recorded by the markets of both Western Europe and Eastern Europe during 2006. In Western Europe sales reached some 277 million m² of laminate flooring (previous year = 274 million m²), while the corresponding figure for Eastern Europe was 85 million m² (previous year = 82 million m²). This represents growth of 1% in Western Europe and 4% in Eastern Europe. The main sales markets in Western Europe are Germany, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands, while their counterparts in Eastern Europe are Poland, Romania and Russia, each of which recorded sales of over 10 million m² of laminate flooring.
The figures show that the markets of Western Europe remain the most important sales areas for EPLF member companies. With 92 million m² (previous year = 88 million m²), Germany again showed slight growth and remains the largest single European market (+ 4.5%). After recording a fall during the previous year, Great Britain stabilized its sales in 2006 at a level of 41 million m² (previous year = 41 million m²) to come second in the rankings of Western European markets. France recorded a slight fall with sales of 35 million m² (previous year = 37 million m²) and is in number 3 position (5.7%). The Dutch market maintained the levels of sales from the previous year at 20 million m² and held on to position 4 in the rankings.
America is the focus
There are some massive changes taking place in North America. On an annual view, total sales of laminate flooring manufactured in Europe fell from 85 million m² (2005) to 70 million m² (2006). This corresponds to a drop of 17.6%. The main reason for this was the US market, which recorded a fall of 20% in sales. Total sales fell from 64 million m² (2005) to 51 million m² (2006). The market in South America, on the other hand, continued its growth story. 11 million m² (previous year = 10 million m²) were sold in 2006 in Latin American countries (+ 10%).
Asia again managed to record low growth in 2006. Sales by EPLF member companies to Asian markets amounted to 8.5 million m² in 2006 (previous year = 8 million m²). This represents an increase of 6.25%, which was due primarily to more intensive market coverage by several manufacturers. The low overall level of laminate flooring sales by European manufacturers in Asia is due to the high number of local suppliers, particularly in China. In view of this increased competition from the Far East, quality and innovation are now the key factors of success for European manufacturers on global markets.
Verband der Europäischen Laminatbodenhersteller e.V.
presseplf [dot] com
Rue Defacqz 52