The "Indoor textile" product group includes:
- carpets (woven, tufted, needle felt, bath sets, etc.)?
- furniture fabrics (flat, velvet, single-coloured, jacquard, printed, etc.),
- decorative fabrics,
- wall coverings,
- household linen (kitchen, table, bed and bath linen),
- mattress cover fabrics,
Textiles for the home are a Belgian speciality. For example, Belgium is the number one producer in the EU of textile floor coverings (rugs, wall-to-wall floor coverings, mats, travellers, bath sets, etc.). Belgian companies active in interior textiles generate a combined total turnover of €1.7 billion. Fully 70% of this is accounted for by textile floor covering manufacturers, and 25% by companies making mattress coverings or couch fabrics and decorative fabrics.
After the US, the Belgian carpet sector is the second largest in the world, with a total turnover of €1.2 billion generated by around 70 companies. But Belgian companies also enjoy world renown in the mattress fabrics sector. In addition to production in Belgium, the major companies in this segment also have production sites around the world. This is because their customers are often large groups of mattress manufacturers, who are themselves spread around the world. Producing close to the customer is an advantage in this regard.
Around 40 SMEs employing around 800 people are active in the couch fabrics and decorative fabrics sector, generating turnover of approximately €120 million. There is also the household textiles segment, with turnover of around €50 million, including a major player in terry towelling.
Carpets, upholstery fabrics, curtains, mattress ducks and household linen produced in Belgium all have an excellent reputation and therefore have customers worldwide.
The importance of trade fairs
Together with the Flemish export agency Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT), Fedustria assists companies active in interior textiles in their export efforts. Among other things, this is organised via group participation in major international trade fairs, including Domotex (Hannover) and Intertextile Home Textiles (Shanghai). Fedustria and FIT also remain actively involved in organising the annual BFM Fabric Show (formerly London Fabric) in the spring, together with our colleagues from British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM). In September, Fedustria is also one of the agencies behind the Decosit trade fair for furniture and decorative fabrics at Brussels Expo.
The corona pandemic seriously disrupted the trade fair calendar, first with postponements to later on in the year, which were subsequently mostly cancelled. Nevertheless, physical trade fairs still have an important role in the world of interior textiles. Precisely because it's possible to physically display new collections so people can touch them, as well as face-to-face contact with customers, physical trade fairs remain vital. And fairs remain the best way to meet potential customers. Fedustria's surveys of its member companies on the corona pandemic showed that it is clearly not the "end" of trade fairs.
The export challenges of Brexit
2021 was the first year of Brexit. For Belgian interior textiles, the United Kingdom was and still is the largest market. This will still be the case after Brexit, although the UK's share of total turnover of this product group is declining. Given that the UK is a major buyer of Belgian wall-to-wall floor covering, woven mattress duck and upholstery fabrics, Fedustria closely followed Brexit developments. Together with the European textile umbrella organisation Euratex, the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB) and the Flemish entrepreneurs' organisation Voka, FIT, as well as entrepreneurs' platforms such as in the province of West Flanders, and in cooperation with customs and logistics partners, all the stops were pulled out to make trade with the UK as smooth as possible after Brexit.
Belgian interior textile companies have adapted as best they can, but Brexit is nevertheless adding administrative complexity, delays, and higher costs. Consequently, exports to the UK in 2021 could not maintain the same level as before Brexit, although they were better than initially feared. But many exporters also fear that the impact of Brexit will only grow over time. The EU plans to cushion the most serious consequences with a Brexit fund, called the Brexit Adjustment Fund in Flanders. The main thing is that on both sides of the Channel, everyone continues striving to make trade as smooth as possible. Initiatives such as Voka's 'green corridors' can be a contribution in this regard.
TrendVision, the meeting platform for interior design
Design and colour are crucial in the interior textiles product group. Since early 2020, TrendVision has been the new name of TextiVision, the meeting platform for designers, (interior) architects and manufacturers around the latest trends in fashion, lifestyle and interior design. This information is collected, for example, through visits to trade fairs and exhibitions, participation in presentations, collaboration with national and international trend watchers, leading creative consultancies, schools with industrial and technological training, and renowned designers and artists. The result is around seven activities every year, where innovative insights, colour trends, the latest materials and structures, and product features are presented, as well as insights into changing consumer trends.
|Number of companies (business groups are regarded as one company)||152|
|Number of employees||8.674|
|Turnover (in million EUR)||1.865|
|Exported quota||94 %|
|Activity evolution in 2021 (in volume)||+8 %|
|Share in the total added value of the Belgian textile sector||41 %|