The habitat or homewares and furnishings industry – manufacturers of furniture, lighting, home textiles, taps and sanitary ware, and floor and wall coverings – in Catalonia is a growing and internationalized sector.
In fact, at present, virtually 100% of the 1,468 Catalan companies in the sector are considered SMEs, with 2.86% of companies having an affiliate abroad and 25.88% being exporters.
In terms of economic impact, the homeware and furnishings industry sector – representing 2.13% of the Catalan GDP – has a turnover of some €5 billion and employs 47,584 people.
Catalan homeware and furnishings companies largely export to France, Portugal and Italy. In terms of imports, Catalonia has its most popular markets in China, Germany and Italy. As regards to opportunities in the sector, Catalonia Trade & Investment's international business opportunities index points to Italy, France, Denmark, Malaysia and Portugal as the countries with the best prospects for the internationalization of Catalan companies in the sector.
New trends in the sector
Furthermore, the habitat sector must also be prepared to face new challenges that will impact fully on the use and functionality of its products, and those firms that can adapt to coming trends will be best equipped to survive and grow.
For example, a growing urban – and aging – population and increasing middle-class will push up and transform demand, while also new sustainability requirements and circular economy standards will force companies to rethink traditional business models.
Hyperconnectivity, thanks to the IoT, is also transforming products on a massive scale, as is the current need for personalisation and individual well-being. And new innovative technologies such as robotics, 5G and AI, not to mention new materials like nanomaterials and bactericidal foams will all define a whole new range of product features.
On a global scale, it is a sector that generated a business volume of €815 billion in 2017; a figure that is expected to reach €1 trillion by 2020. Within this business, the home furniture segment was especially noteworthy for its turnover of almost €500 billion in 2017. The United States, China and Germany were the main exporting and importing countries in the sector.