2023: A Year of Robust Growth for Italy’s Woodworking Technology



Italian woodworking machinery market

2023 has been a noteworthy year for the Italian woodworking and furniture industry equipment technology. Demonstrating resilience and growth, the industry experienced a production increase of 3.5% compared to the previous year, signaling a robust phase despite facing challenging conditions.

Insights from Acimall

Acimall, the association representing Italian woodworking machinery and tool manufacturers, shared some intriguing insights. While the order book wasn’t as robust as in previous exceptional years, the strong backlog of orders enabled companies to boost their revenues. This trend is significant, especially when considering the impressive 5.3% growth achieved in 2022 over the record-setting year 2021.

Financial Highlights

The industry’s financial health is evident in its production value, which reached an impressive 2.74 billion euros, a figure that stands tall even after accounting for inflation. This achievement is particularly notable in the context of the broader mechanical industry, where similar trends are observed, particularly in the domain of machine tools.

Preliminary results 2023
Photo By woodworkingnetwork.com

Exports played a crucial role in the industry’s success, accounting for about 70% of total revenues and growing by 7% to 1.935 billion euros. However, the domestic market witnessed a different scenario, with sales declining by 4% to 805 million euros. This trend was also reflected in a significant decrease in imports.

The Italian Market’s Current Phase

The current phase of the Italian market is characterized by a natural and expected reduction, given the high levels of investment in recent years, leading to a saturation of equipment fleets. Despite this, the demand for wood and furniture technology in Italy remains strong, keeping the country in the fourth position globally, trailing behind China, the United States, and Germany, and just ahead of Vietnam.

Trade Balance and Industry Outlook

The trade balance for the wood and wood-based material technology industry in 2023 was notably positive, with an active result of 1.665 billion euros. This marks a 9.3% increase from 2022 and represents a significant contribution to the Italian machine tools landscape and the overall Italian economy.

Looking Ahead to 2024

As we look towards 2024, the industry is expected to normalize after the booming years. Acimall’s director Dario Corbetta emphasizes the industry’s resilience, noting that while fluctuations are natural, the sector is better equipped financially and organizationally to handle these changes.

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The Role of Industry 5.0

The Italian market has been invigorated by initiatives promoting investment, particularly under the “Industry 5.0” plan, which is aligned with the EU’s “REPower EU” plan. This includes tax credits and incentives for investments adhering to Industry 4.0 standards, promoting energy efficiency and connectivity.

The Future Landscape

For 2024-2025, companies can anticipate tax credits totaling 6.3 billion euros, fostering a conducive environment for investment in energy-efficient machinery and equipment. The association expresses a cautious optimism for the future, highlighted by the upcoming Xylexpo 2024, a biennial international exhibition showcasing technology for the wood supply chain.

This reflection on the Italian woodworking machinery industry in 2023 and the outlook for the coming years paints a picture of an industry navigating through changes, harnessing opportunities, and adapting to evolving market dynamics.

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