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Construction Slump Affects Laminate Sales

A decline in construction has affected worldwide sales of laminate flooring--with the largest drop seen in North America in 2023--but the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) says confidence in the market remains strong and officials remain optimistic about future sales.

Photo by Jurre Houtkamp / Unsplash

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The Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) says that worldwide sales have declined through 2023, affected by the construction sector's downward trends. But despite facing a general decline due to inflation, rising material costs, and slowing demand, the association says confidence in the market remains strong and officials remain optimistic about future sales.

The EPLF total sales for 2023, released in an EPLF report this week, amount to 318.049.711 m², marking a decrease of -13,38 percent compared to 2022. Among the main regions, the smallest decline in 2023 was in Western Europe (-7,65 percent compared to 2022) and the largest in North America (-42,04 percent compared to 2022).

In 2023, Western Europe sales decreased by -7,65 percent (165.379.999 m² sold). Sales increased in Turkey (+22,46 percent), Ireland (+16,31 percent) and Belgium (+2,85 percent). The majority of countries in the region felt the effects of the international upheaval, with Germany at - 11,06 percent (33.843.105 m² sold) and Austria experiencing a -14,34 percent (2.971.082 m² sold) decline. However, Switzerland's sales remained relatively stable, with a decline of less than 1 percent compared to 2022.

 In contrast, Eastern Europe faced even harsher conditions, with sales declining by - 10,25 percent (96.705.775 m² sold) compared to 2022. Belarus and Bosnia and Herzegovina recorded a positive sales increase (+8,84 percent and +3,26 percent respectively), while Croatia remained stable with 2.550.526 m² sold. However, Poland (-7,30 percent; 3.521.108 m² sold) and Hungary (-39,20 percent; 4.626.284 m² sold) suffered the most significant setbacks. On the other hand, Kosovo's sales shifted from a decline of -47,20 percent in 2022 to an increase of +3,27 percent in 2023.

North America experienced the most significant impact compared to other regions worldwide, with a decline of -42,04 percent. Sales in 2023 amounted to 21.609.239 m², a notable decrease from 37.280.606 m² in 2022. Additionally, Latin America saw a decline of -33,76 percent, achieving 7.402.177 m² in sales for 2023. Notably, Chile, which suffered the most in 2022 (-67 percent; 4.462.283 m²), experienced a less severe decline of -19,76 percent, with 3.580.669 m² sold in 2023.

EPLF’s sales in Africa declined by -15,66 percent with 3.244.021 m² sold in 2023, with sales increasing only in Morocco by +3,37 percent in 2023 to 789.685 m² sold. Oceania experienced a similar situation with a drop of -21,41 percent (2.361.619 m²). In Asia, there was a -17,25 percent decrease (17.795.550 m² sold). Notably, Kazakhstan showed signs of recovery with sales increasing by +5,67 percent, with 4.194.635 m² sold compared to 2022, while China continued to face a decline of -38,21 percent (2.323.046 m² sold).

The construction market has been under pressure due to high inflation and rising costs, and consumers have slowed or stopped building and renovating. As laminate is one of the largest flooring categories today, it follows the downward trend of the construction market.

There is some positive news for the future. Long term projections show a very big opportunity for laminate flooring as new construction and renovation are expected to boom in the next few years. The construction market will go up again as housing shortages will require new houses to be built, and the existing housing market (at least in Europe) will need to be renovated because of the implementation of the European Green Deal.

Laminate is the most sustainable floor on the market today, it is made from recovered wood and it is close to carbon neutral. With the continuous investments in innovation, members of EPLF made the category water-resistant, positioning it as the most sustainable and affordable solutions for customers.

On the short term, the members of EPLF prepare for a difficult market. They are confident on the medium and longer term and are optimistic for future sales.

Established in 1994 in Germany, the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring represents the leading producers of laminate flooring in Europe and their suppliers. The focus of its work revolves around research, development, standardization and representation at international trade fairs. Its management has moved to Brussels since November 2019. Visit www.EPLF.com for more information.

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