South European parquet markets severely hit by Covid-19 crisis

13 April 2020

Parquet flooring markets in southern Europe have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP).

FEP directors held a virtual meeting on April 2 to discuss the parquet situation and the first impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on the European markets.

“The European parquet markets had generally started the year well, showing stable to slightly positive trends in January and February,” FEP said in a statement.

“But March and the arrival of the Covid-19 virus on the European territory put an end to this positive move.”

When compared to the same period last year, the provisional results for the three first months of 2020 indicate stable parquet consumption in Scandinavia (except in Sweden for structural reasons), Baltic States and even Germany where the activity is continuing for the time being.

On the other hand, the southern Europe market - which is experiencing tougher restriction measures - is generally already reporting significant declines in parquet consumption.

“Although it is right now impossible to predict when activities will restart and how consumption will then evolve, it is obvious that this crisis will have long-term and significant impacts on the European economy and industry,” FEP added.

German parquet sales were flat during the first quarter of 2020. The German market was stable until beginning of March which started well compared to 2019. Retail shops are now closed but DIY shops are open in most areas, with companies and installers are still working.

In France, parquet consumption fell by 15-17% during Q1, compared to the first three months of 2019. January and February were normal months of activity, but the French parquet market “collapsed in March”, according to FEP. All shops are closed and all factories have stopped their activities.

In Italy the parquet market declined by 10% during the three first months of the current year. Activity in January was slow, then Italy was the first European country hit by the crisis. “All factories and shops are closed at least until mid-April and the comeback to normality will take time,” said FEP.

The Danish parquet market was flat during the first quarter 2020. The project market is still doing well while the retail shops have started to close with the crisis. People are nevertheless working a lot at home for refurbishing.

Baltic countries’ parquet markets remained flat during the first quarter of the current year. Activities are so far continuing in these countries.

FEP represents companies who manufacture either solid wood flooring or engineered wood flooring with a top timber wear layer of over 2.5mm in thickness. The FEP General Assembly & Parquet Congress 2020, which was supposed to take place on 11-12 June in Hamburg, has now been cancelled.