Growing World demand for Household Goods

Growing focus on adapting and enhancing home environment supports global trade. Will the pandemic be a game changer in the competitive arena?

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Covid-19 Conjuncture Consumption pattern Export markets Foreign markets Internationalisation tools

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We have often described how international trade data can be precious allies in interpreting the transformations that the pandemic context has imposed on consumption on a global scale. Over the last year, we have witnessed a transformation in the usual context of life, which has determined an increase in particular categories of goods capable of meeting the new needs. In this context, we have seen significant growth in the renovation of home spaces. Since the second half of last year, world demand for Household Goods has been characterized by a particularly expansive growth, which was further consolidated in the first quarter of the new year (see graph below).

As shown in the chart above, the international trade of Household Goods approached the Great Lockdown crisis not shining in terms of performance. However, following a particularly bad first half of 2020, the rebound has been particularly strong. The broad recovery allowed the industry to end the pandemic year with a performance only slightly below 2019: -0.4% in dollar terms. Buoyed by the growing focus on the adaptation and valorization of the home environment by international consumers, the first quarter of the new year thus opened by signaling a further strengthening of the industry's growth, which marks a +22% increase y-over-y. Moreover, when compared to the values of the first quarter of 2019, the industry grows by 13%, signaling a new phase of increase compared to pre-crisis values.
Excluding a few product categories, the increase is spread across all major industry segments (see chart below).

Source: ExportPlanning

The demand for Household Appliances is driving; for the segment, some types of products, such as small kitchen appliances, showed strong counter-trend dynamics even in the most stringent pandemic months. In addition, the strong growth experienced by other segments, such as Pots and Pans and Potatoes, demonstrates the ever-increasing importance for kitchen spaces. Finally, the increase recorded by the Wood-Furnishing and Lighting Technology sectors is also worthy of note.

Competitive positioning

Given the favorable economic phase, which exporting country is currently meeting the growth in demand for the Household Goods? The graph below compares the dynamics shown by the main exporters in the industry over the last few quarters.

Source: ExportPlanning

The expansion phase of the industry seems to be mainly sustained by exporters with low labor costs, especially China and Poland. A weaker performance, on the other hand, was posted by the main Western economies, with the worst result coming from the United States. Of particular interest is the Italian case, which, unlike Germany and U.S.A., seems to have halted its downward trend.