BAD HONNEF (dpa-AFX) – The German furniture industry has so far come through the Covid-19 pandemic with a black eye. The furniture, kitchen and furnishing retailer was able to increase its sales in 2020 despite the lockdown by around one percent to around 34.5 billion euros, as the managing director of the Furniture and Kitchen Association (BVDM), Christian Haeser, reported on Wednesday.
After the slump in sales due to the first lockdown in spring 2020, the industry benefited from the growing importance of one’s own four walls in the crisis and the trend towards home offices from the summer. Since vacation trips were often canceled, consumers often invested the money planned for them in their own homes. The temporary reduction in VAT also had a positive effect. One of the biggest winners was the online furniture trade, which, according to estimates by the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), now accounts for 18 percent of industry sales.
In contrast to the furniture trade, the German furniture industry had to accept a pandemic-related decline in sales of around 4 percent in 2020. But thanks to an order boom in November and December, it starts the new year with well-filled order books, as the VDM reported. In 2020, incoming orders in the German home furniture industry rose by 14.1 percent, in the kitchen furniture industry by 11.8 percent and in the upholstered furniture industry by 5.5 percent, reported VDM managing director Jan Kurth. The high order backlog will also help the industry in the current lockdown.
Nevertheless, the industry is pushing for an open perspective. Kurth emphasized that January was actually “by far the month with the highest sales in the furniture trade”. The current lockdown is therefore particularly hard for the industry. He advocated making it possible for the furniture trade to have at least one-on-one advice for customers as quickly as possible by making an appointment and observing the mask requirement.
However, the industry is not only looking at the current year with mixed feelings because of the uncertain duration of the lockdown. An end to the pandemic is also likely to have an impact on the industry. If the vaccinations progress and traveling through Europe becomes possible again, the BVDM only reckons with “at best stagnating incoming orders”. Because then the expenses for vacation and private travel would rise again, predicted Haeser./rea/DP/jha