Furniture production increases rapidly in Romania and Poland

Production value in the EU13 group of Eastern European countries increased 50% between 2002 and 2012.

This region now accounts for 20% of total EU production value. Production growth has been particularly rapid in Poland, Romania, Lithuania and Slovakia, ITTO reported.

Furniture production in this region has always been more export-oriented than in Western Europe. By combining 22  relatively cheap labour with proximity to European customers, furniture production in these countries has risen alongside the on-going process of EU eastern expansion and market integration.

Poland is by far the leading furniture exporter in Eastern Europe with over €6 billion in 2012. Exports accounted for as much as 79% of Poland's production value in 2012. Poland is also increasingly influential in the global furniture industry. In 2012, it was the world's 7th largest manufacturer (up from 12th in 2002) and the 4th largest exporter (up from 5th in 2002) after China, Germany and Italy. As in Italy, production in Poland is highly fragmented.

There are almost 24,000 furniture manufacturers in the country mainly concentrated in the Wielkopolskie, Mazowieckie and Malopolskie regions. Romania is the second largest furniture producer in the EU13 group of countries, although production of €1.5 billion in 2012 was only a quarter of that in Poland. Furniture production in Romania expanded at an average annual rate of 6.3% between 2002 and 2012. Exports account for 88% of production and have driven this rapid growth.

The Czech Republic is the third largest producer of furniture in the EU13, with production value of €1.4 billion in 2012. The country has around 500 producers, mostly locally owned with lower levels of foreign investment than in other parts of the region. Lithuania is now the fourth largest furniture manufacturer in Eastern Europe, with production value rising by 400% between 2002 and 2012, notably due to large investments by the Swedish giant Ikea.



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