After a series of successful years, the market for laminate floorings suffered in 2022.

The members of the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) have experienced difficulties that translated in the sales volumes that showed an overall decline in most regions.

This is mainly due to the global energy crisis that followed the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has led to inflation.

The EPLF has released its annual statistics, showing total sales for 2022 amounted to 367.1 million m2, a decrease of -24% compared to 2021 (483 million m2). Most regions were hit by this trend, with Latin America being hit the most by the drop in sales with 11.1 million m2 (-51% compared to 2021). In contrast, countries falling under the “other regions” are stable with sales merely at -0.35% compared to 2021 with 3.5 million m2 sold.

In 2022, sales in western Europe decreased by -22% (179 million m2 sold). A vast majority of the countries in the region have been affected by the international upheaval, with the exception of Andorra (+5%), Cyprus (+4%), Iceland (+10%), and Monaco (+24.5%).

Belgium at -34.7% with 6 million m2 sold, Finland at -34.2% with 2 million m2 sold and The Netherlands at -33.5% with 14.1 million m2 are among the countries that suffered the most from the crisis in western Europe.

When it comes to eastern Europe, the region was hit harder than its western counterpart as sales fell by -24% (107.7 million m2 sold) compared to 2021. Ukraine (-55%; 3.7 million m2 sold), Macedonia (-48.6%; 235,357m2 sold) and Kosovo (-47%; 1.2 million m2 sold) suffered the most.

North America is the market impacted the least compared to other regions in the world with a setback of only -2.4% with sales of 29.1 million m2. However, the Canadian market faced a drop of -37% in sales with 8 million m2 sold in 2022.

In contrast, Latin America is the market that suffered the most as the sales volume has been halved (-51% compared to 2021) with 11.1 million m2 sold, Chile being the most affected market (-67%; 4.4 million m2).

EPLF’s sales in Africa declined by -33% with 3.8 million m2 sold in 2022. Asia also witnessed a -34% decrease (21.5 million m2). The situation is similar in Oceania with a drop of -16% (3 million m2).

However, some countries stand out from the rest of the markets. EPLF members managed to increase their sales figures in Salvador (+235.5%), Panama (+226%), Brazil (+117%) in Latin America, Cape Verde (+655%), and Madagascar (+23%) in Africa, as well as Iraq (+131%), Philippines (+49%), and Malaysia (+40%) in Asia.

“Despite the supply issues and the higher energy costs the sector is facing, EPLF members are confident that they will soon return to sales figures similar to those of 2021 when consumers’ enthusiasm for remodelling boosted the purchase of laminate flooring, during the pandemic,” EPLF said.

“In the meantime, they continue to innovate and provide customers with quality laminate flooring, that is both sustainable and affordable in the years to come.”

Meanwhile, in the area of trends, EPLF sees the laminate flooring industry in 2023 continuing its journey through Scandinavia and the Nordics.

The trends continue to lean towards more durable and natural designs, with a concentration on natural colours, textures and materials that will translate how important sustainability has become for customers who seek authenticity and lifetime performance.

“It is all about oak,” said EPLF.

Manufacturers tend to stay away from cold grey tones homes and playful eye-catching decors that consumers are leaving out of their homes.

Designs remain very close to the original wood patterns with authentic, light, friendly, and fresh decors, with natural matte texture as well as subtle knots, that translate a harmonious look.

Blond, natural brown, whitened oak colours will please the customer’s eye and recreate a natural and warm cosy cocoon at home.

EPLF says raw oak is the consumer’s favourite, with the aim to create calmer and more harmonious decors from light, pure natural tones through to nutmeg brown tones. However, some members already see the first signals and interest in wood types beyond oak, so EPLF suggests 2024 may have a few trend surprises.