State of the Industry Report: Italian Woodworking Machinery Could Expect Double Digit Growth in 2016!
The woodworking technology and wood-based materials industry keeps showing encouraging trends: preliminary figures for the current year speak for themselves, showing a fully positive sign for all major indexes. The analysis carried out by the Studies office of the Confindustria-member association ACIMALL, gathering the industry's leading companies provides a brighter picture than many were expecting. And compared to the recent past, satisfaction comes from the domestic market, a trend that might bring even more significant “surprises” in 2016. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at figures, reminding that these are preliminary data subject to possible adjustments (see related chart).

Production has increased to 1,790 million euro, 7.2 percent more than 1,669 million euro in 2014, when the industry had already achieved an excellent increase by 8.6 percent over 2013. The trend towards the restoration of pre-crisis levels (in 2008 the Italian industry turnover exceeded 2 billion euro) is clear and consistent. Export remains the key strength of our technology: in 2015 it has increased by 6.8 percent from 2014. Last year, growth had been slower, namely 5.7 percent compared to 2013. Import – accounting for a bit less than 25 percent of total wood technology investments in Italy – amounted to 152 million euro, equal to 22.5 percent compared to 124 million in 2014. The trade balance has reached 1,188 million euro (plus 5 percent), versus 1,131 in 2014 (plus 8.3 percent from 2013). Good trend also on the domestic market, which exceeded 450 million euro, up by 8.7 percent from 414 million in 2014, which had been growing by 18.2 percent compared to 2013. So, also the domestic market is showing a clearly positive trend, as further evidence of the effectiveness of government incentives to investments and a more positive “sentiment” of enterprises, which is encouraging new investments for the renovation or expansion of production assets.

“Although the general scenario is better than in the past, trying to predict the future in this international economic and political phase is hazardous”, said Dario Corbetta, underlining the traditional focus of the association’s Studies office on tangible figures. “However, there are a few tangible elements that indicate a clear trend. Taking for granted that our companies will continue to be successful in several markets around the world where our technology is a synonym for excellence, during next year we mainly expect an increase in investments in the domestic market.

Two factors feed our optimism: first of all, a new measure by the Italian government will allow companies to apply a 140-percent depreciation of the value of purchased goods, whereby such depreciation will be evenly distributed across the entire lifecycle. This measure will be complemented by the extension of the 50-percent “furniture bonus” for under-35 couples who buy new furniture, not necessarily related to home renovation. A similar incentive in 2014 –Corbetta concluded – generated furniture sales in excess of 836 million euro, a level of demand that was a very powerful driver”.
So, based on these figures, in 2016 Acimall’s Studies office is expecting an expansion of the Italian woodworking technology business by 5 to 10 percent, an encouraging outlook for an industry that currently includes 9 thousand employees and 270 companies, 180 of them associated to Acimall and accounting for 18 percent of global production.

A significant contribution to such growth will come from the next XYLEXPO 2016, the biennial international exhibition of woodworking technology and furniture industry supplies, to be held May 24-28, 2016 at the FieraMilano-Rho trade center in Milan, Italy.