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,
The Belgian textile industry rests on two major pillars: technical textiles and interior textiles. The latter has proved to be the stronghold of Belgian textiles since the end of World War II. In no other European country are interior textiles so important to the textile industry. This is why Belgium is the number-one producer in the EU of textile floor coverings (carpets, wall-to-wall floor covering, mats, runners, bath sets, etc.), and – by the way – this country is also very strong in other floor covering products, such as parquet, laminate and vinyl.
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 60 companies.
Belgian companies are also global players 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 in bedding, who are themselves spread around the world. Producing close to the customer is often essential in this regard.
Around 40 SMEs employing around 750 people are active in the couch fabrics and decorative fabrics sector, generating turnover of approximately €100 million. Household textiles have a turnover of around €40 million, including a major player in terry towelling.
Interior textiles produced in Belgium have an excellent reputation and therefore have customers worldwide.
The importance of trade exhibition
Along 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). Heimtextil (Frankfurt) also remains an important international trade exhibition. Fedustria also continues to support companies in their actions on the important British market. In September, Fedustria is also one of the agencies behind the Decosit trade fair for furniture and decorative fabrics at Brussels Expo, now on 5-6 September 2023. And with the reopening of China since December 2022, new prospects may well present themselves there.
Even though the coronavirus pandemic has severely shaken the trade exhibition calendar from 2020 through 2022, physical trade exhibitions continue to have their place within the world of interior textiles. Precisely because it is 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 exhibitions remain the best way to meet new customers.
The export challenges of Brexit
For Belgian interior textile producers, the United Kingdom was and still is the largest market. This has remained true even after Brexit (2021), although the UK's proportion is still falling steadily. Given that the UK is a major buyer of Belgian wall-to-wall floor covering, woven mattress duck and upholstery fabrics, Fedustria has closely followed the Brexit developments.
Belgian interior textile companies have adapted as best they can, so overall our exports continue to run smoothly, despite the additional red tape, delays, and inevitably higher costs. But the biggest concern appears to be the indirect effect of Brexit, particularly the weakened British economy and the declining purchasing power of the ordinary Briton. They now spend less on home furnishings, which is not helped by the energy crisis that hit in 2022.
Fedustria worked with customs, transport companies, Voka, VBO, FIT, etc., to ensure that the red tape for member companies would be as low as possible, including through full electronic processing. Companies were also urged to take advantage of the various 'Brexit funds' that provide resources for spreading their exports more geographically.
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 five 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)||150|
|Number of employees||8.500|
|Turnover (in million EUR)||1.900|
|Exported quota||94 %|
|Activity evolution in 2022 (in volume)||-8 %|
|Share in the total added value of the Belgian textile sector||40 %|