The Italian Way: The future of the furniture industry
The fourth The Italian Way event, organised by UniCredit in collaboration with Confindustria Veneto, looked at how companies in the furniture industry can prosper and restart
Furniture and interior design is amongst the most distinctive Made in Italy sectors and is recognised globally, especially the wood furniture industry. It is also a crucial sector for Italy’s economy with 73,000companies employing 310,000 people and generating a turnover of €42.5 billion.
This sector was also heavily impacted by the Covid-19 crisis but there are signs emerging that will help the recovery: the healthy income and capital situation most companies face, the growing success of e-commerce and increased internationalisation.
The fourth The Italian Way event, dedicated to the furniture industry, was held on 13 July in Verona in partnership with Confindustria Veneto, the Veneto regional branch of the General Confederation of Italian Industry.
Joining the discussion on how to restart the sector were Remo Taricani (Co-CEO Commercial Banking Italy UniCredit), Luisella Altare (Regional Manager North Est UniCredit), Enrico Carraro, (President Confindustria Veneto and President Gruppo Carraro), Denise Archiutti (Coordinator Wood & Furniture Sector Confindustria Veneto, Group Controller and Administrative Advisor Veneta Cucine S.p.A.), Claudio Feltrin (President Arper S.p.A. and President Assarredo), Daniele Lago (CEO & Head of Design Lago S.p.A.), Giulia Molteni (Head of Marketing & Communication Molteni Group) e Roberta Antinarella, Industry Expert UniCredit. The event was moderated by Cristiano Seganfreddo artisitc director at Krizia.
UniCredit Sector report
Situation before Covid
Companies in the furniture sector were in a healthy state before the pandemic, with good liquidity levels and growing productivity.
Covid impact on the furniture sector
There are two possible scenarios for the future of the Isector: both predict a sharp decrease in turnover in 2020 and an improvement in 2021. In the “Soft” scenario the sector loses 17% of its value compared to 2019 with a potential improvement in 2021 that could almost fill the gap lost. In the “hard” scenario the loss is around 1/4 of 2019 turnover but with a potential sales bounce of more than 27% in 2021.
Impact amongst furniture sub-sectors won’t be the same
Some sub-sectors of the furniture industry are less impacted by this negative period as not all purchases are subject to customer delays. In particular, kitchen, bedroom and living area furniture should be less affected. The most penalised areas will be office and shop furniture.
Looking at the different segments of Italian companies in the furniture sector, margins grow based on company size. The industry is characterised by many small companies and artisans that could struggle to have the resources to restart and prosper.
The pillars to restart: innovation and flexibility
In the post-covid era, relaunch of Italian furniture companies will be connected to new consumer habits and sharp e-commerce growth. This is changing the trading environment and the organisation models of many companies: flexibility will increase and so will multi-channel sales.
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