The quarterly survey by the Studies office of Acimall, the association of Italian woodworking and furniture technology manufacturers, reaffirmed the situation after of period of exponential growth of orders and turnover.

In the April-June period of this year, orders recorded a 17.8% reduction versus the same period of 2022, resulting from an 18.7% decrease in orders from abroad and a 13.8% decrease in domestic orders. 

This result replicates the trend of the previous four months, all negative, and brings the general industry index back to 2019 levels. 

The wood and furniture technology industry can rely on an order backlog of 5.2 months (unchanged from the previous quarter), while the price variation from the beginning of the year – settled at 1.2% – is helping cool down the inflation that characterized this industry and the entire economy in the past two years.

According to the quality survey, 72% of the interviewed companies expect substantial stability in production, while 9% predict further shrinkage and 19% an increase (the balance is plus 10 points).

Employment is increasing according to 14% of the sample, stationary for 81%, decreasing for 5%. Available stocks are stable according to 34% of the interviewees (versus 62% in the January-March period), increasing for 33% and decreasing for 33%.

The forecast reveals a less positive climate compared to the previous quarter: as to the foreign markets, 33% expect a stable trend (versus 38% in the previous quarter); it will decrease according to 48% (38% in January-March) and increase according to the remaining 19% (versus 24%). As to the Italian market, it will be stable according to 48% of the interviewees (57% in the first quarter 2023), shrinking for 38% (versus 24%) and expanding for 14% (19% in the previous quarter).

“This is an expected scenario,” said Acimall director Dario Corbetta. “But there might be a change of direction with the new Industry 5.0 Transition Plan, eagerly awaited not only by the wood and furniture technology industry, but by all mechanical engineering segments and beyond. The scope of this plan might drive the recovery of the Italian market in the coming months, or at least from the beginning of 2024.

“These measures would certainly offer new and bigger opportunities to act in two directions, namely further progress towards digital transformation and an even stronger and tangible “green” revolution of industrial operations.”