Rising importance of Netherlands in EU-wide furniture distribution

October 04, 2018
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Since 2016, there has been a significant growth in wood furniture exports by Netherlands to neighbouring EU countries.

Wood furniture supply in the Netherlands is fed by imports from outside the EU, and by domestic wood furniture manufacturing, both of which have been rising in the last 2 years.

This suggests that the Netherlands in playing an increasing role in the wood furniture sector, as in other wood sectors, in the distribution of products to other EU countries. It is likely driven by two factors.

First moves to consolidate the retail sector in the EU which has been accompanied, to some extent, by greater centralisation of retailers’ procurement operations. This has led to greater focus on imports through the large ports in Benelux countries.

Second, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) may be reinforcing this trend towards concentration of the procurement function.

Smaller importers have become more inclined to buy from other larger EU importers, or only from EU-based manufacturers, to avoid the requirement to implement due diligence systems.

If this latter factor is important, then it should present an opportunity for Indonesian products which, due to FLEGT licensing, are the only non-EU wood furniture products that may be placed on the EU market without any further due diligence.

However, so far other factors are not leading to a significant increase in Indonesian wood furniture trade with the EU – such as very long lead times in supply from Indonesia and the country’s tight focus on marketing of only a relatively limited range of mainly exterior, often teak, products in the EU, without regularly reviewing the products to ensure they align with changing fashion trends.