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EXPORT TO BEAT THE CRISIS AND RETURN TO GROWTH HOW ITALIAN WOOD GOT ITS COMPETITIVENESS BACK
The contraction of consumption caused by the crisis is not affecting the export results for the Italian wood industry, which has again confirmed its strong presence on international markets this year.
What is weighing the sector down most is the domestic slowdown, which now means the foreign market is the main market, “the anchor for the whole section”. That’s what president of FederlegnoArredo Roberto Snaidero thinks. Encouraged by the export data for 2011, Snaidero is launching the made in Italy furniture industry into new and exciting projects outside Europe.
The president has left 2009 behind, with its recession that lead to a double zero decrease in exports. The sector can now look back on a reassuring +5.1% increase in exports recorded for 2011. The whole network of national producers has definitely lived through its darkest moment and is now returning to the limelight. “The results of the foreign commercialisation strategies,” Snaidero has commented, “are a response to the sector’s efforts to overcome the crisis. The rapid recovery of foreign markets must be a clear priority for us and for the country.”
Trade is improving, with a value of 10.5 billion euros, but the domestic market is worsening: national consumption fell to 13 billion from 14.4 billion in 2010. There are positive signs for the Wood and Furniture sector coming from abroad, with a sales increase of 5.9%, whereas the domestic market recorded growth of only 0.7%. In this instance the export performance of the furniture sector also compensates for the poor growth of the domestic market. The data on the furniture industry also show that the lever of internationalisation needs to be pulled: the global export growth for 2011 was 5%, as opposed to 4.1% for imports.
“Internationalisation”, Snaidero continues “is an imperative the Federation cannot avoid: research into new foreign markets is an absolute priority that must be addressed by developing the business-to-business relationships that the Federation has been involved in for some time.” In short, the national furniture players have set themselves the task of learning to think in increasingly delocalised terms and encourage penetration into new areas, as is happening in the projects in emerging countries in the Balkans and the Middle East. These actions towards overseas affirmation have stemmed from far-reaching promotional initiatives such as the creation of the WorldWide fairs. Projects aimed at the Turkish, Chinese and American markets have been scheduled for 2012.
Onwards with internationalisation, then, and everyone else will have to match the quality of the made in Italy products that feature in the furniture and wood trade shows.
It would be excessive to say that these merits are only due to exports, but it is also true that a return from the crisis and a projection towards future horizons are dependent largely on the international policies adopted. This fact is now accepted and proven by the market trends, even more than by the producers.