The current consumer restraint in Germany is hitting the domestic furniture industry hard. The orders received by German furniture manufacturers in the first seven months of this year were in some cases significantly below the previous year, reports Jan Kurth, Managing Director of the German furniture industry associations in Cologne.

The industry is therefore expecting a “decline in sales of 5 to 7 percent” this year. Adjusted for price, the losses would be even higher. According to the association, difficult conditions for the industry can be expected to continue in the coming year.

“In view of the inflation and the protracted political debate about the heating law, consumers are unsettled and shy away from purchasing long-term consumer goods,” says Kurth. The industry is also suffering from the decline in housing construction.

According to the association’s surveys, German home furniture manufacturers recorded a decline of around 12 percent in the value of incoming orders in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year. The upholstered furniture industry suffered losses of around 10 percent. In the kitchen furniture industry, the value of incoming orders was a good 2 percent below the previous year. Based on the number of pieces, the situation is even worse, says Kurth.

As a result, according to a current association survey, German furniture manufacturers are now increasingly resorting to the instrument of short-time work. According to this, 35 percent of the companies surveyed have currently applied for short-time work. Of the furniture manufacturers who are not yet using short-time work, 36 percent plan to apply for this during the rest of the year. A quarter of the manufacturers surveyed assume that the number of employees in their company will fall for the year as a whole, says Kurth.