Market Intelligence
Design and Construction Office Furniture Industries Italy

Italy Interior Design and Furnishing Sector

U.S. companies supplying innovative and sustainable interior design and furnishing items can find opportunities in Italy.

Italy, a country with 13 industrial districts, has a long tradition of furniture manufacturing that has always boasted innovative and well-designed products.  According to FederlegnoArredo Studies Center, the Italian Federation of Woodworking and Furniture Industries, in 2022 the furniture sector went through a +22.2% increase in sales, with +26.7% in Italy and +16.3% in exports  – with respect to the first semester of 2021.  Given the national and international political scenarios, forecasts for 2023 are difficult to make.  Shortages with the supply chain, energy costs, increase in raw material commodity prices and inflation are among the critical factors affecting this sector during this historical pandemic and geopolitical period.

The pandemic has changed consumers habits and people are spending more for their homes for comfort during lock downs or isolation and in response to remote and hybrid work.  Italy’s Budget Law has extended the ‘Furniture Bonus’ also for 2023, with a Personal Income Tax deduction of 50 percent on purchases of new furniture and large household appliances in a variety of energy classes (A for ovens, E for washers, dryers and dishwashers, F for refrigerators and freezers) to furnish a property undergoing renovation, and consumers may be more prone to purchase furniture and household appliances, in spite of the increase in the cost of living.

The furniture sector places great attention on sustainability and research of new production paradigms for a more effective use of raw materials.  Challenges that this sector will have to face in the future include digitalization (i.e. transformation of distribution channels with increase in eCommerce); technological development of production; effective management of supplies and logistics; improved service quality to clients; and environmental sustainability (i.e. recycling; reuse of products and packaging).

Salone del Mobile.Milano is the global benchmark for the home furnishing and design sector that takes place annually and celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2022.  Founded as a vehicle for promoting Italian furniture and furnishings exports, it has become the most keenly awaited event in the world of furniture, where new trends and innovation are highlighted.  It also represents an opportunity for scheduled or casual B2B and B2C networking and meeting up, which makes it an extremely fertile ground for opportunities and business.  Exhibiting at the show allows companies to present the latest novelties in terms of research, innovation and design.  When applying, potential candidates should be aware of a long waiting list, although it is worth the wait, not giving up and reapplying for several editions until assigned an exhibit space.  Finding a local partner to initially share exhibit space with may also be a solution.  Eligible companies include industrial manufacturers and artisans, as well as consortia and organizations and innovative, design and high-end products can be a plus to being accepted.  U.S. successful exhibitors include historical and icon brands as well as well-established companies presenting innovative, creative and socially responsible projects mainly in the outdoor and office furniture, as well as bathroom and lightning sector.  Interested exhibitors should visit the show first to get a feel for the international environment and exhibiting landscape and competition.  SaloneSatellite, held within Salone del Mobile.Milano, is the international design pavilion dedicated to the under-35s designers, which showcases new prototypes for the home and office.  Since 1998, this has served as a launchpad for young designers and a point of reference for companies on the lookout for new talent.  Up and coming U.S. designers meeting the criteria are showcased at this pavilion.

Another opportunity to get visibility in the local market may be exhibiting at Fuorisalone, the set of design events distributed in different areas of Milan on the same days when the Milan Furniture Show takes place.  Every year, in April, Salone del Mobile.Milano and Fuorisalone define the Milan Design Week, the most important event in the world for design.  Fuorisalone started spontaneously early in the 1980’s thanks to the will of companies working in the furnishing and industrial design sectors.

U.S. companies interested in visiting or exhibiting at these events should reach out to