Even after the coronavirus hit North America, wood components manufacturers have remained fairly optimistic. A recent survey of more than 200 component and dimension producers found despite temporary slowdowns, or in some cases stoppages, in business, a majority of respondents were still projecting 2020 sales to be the same or even slightly higher than 2019.

Sales and business performance information was compiled in the third annual Wood Components Benchmark Study, conducted online in February and March by the Wood Products Manufacturers Association, the Wood Component Manufacturers Association and Woodworking Network.

As the pandemic crisis lessens, wood components manufacturers can now look ahead and resume their business. What follows is a snapshot of the industry based on the survey results.

Where is the business?
Even before the pandemic forced many to shelter in place, residential outweighed commercial applications. When listing all the industries they sell to, 82.5% of respondents to the question said they sell to the residential cabinetry and closets market, with the segment accounting for all or three-quarters of sales for 23.8%. Likewise, 62.5% of the respondents sell at least some product to the residential furniture market, with 8.1% selling to it almost exclusively. In comparison, 70.6% of respondents to the question sold into the commercial cabinetry market, 13.8% almost exclusively, while 52.5% were involved in contract furniture, including 3.7% for whom the segment provided 75% or more of their sales.

Of the remaining markets, 65.0% had sales in building products, 62.5% decorative/specialty and 38.1% provided some level of industrial products. A drill-down of some of the product offerings is below.

Not surprisingly, cabinetry components, including doors, drawer boxes and other cabinet parts, accounted for the largest product segments, followed by moulding and trim, and architectural millwork. (Click on the above graph to enlarge.) An overwhelming majority, 86.4%, did not export their products.

With regards to the species used by producers of these products, survey respondents ranked maple – both hard and soft – at the top, followed by poplar, red oak and white oak. The popularity of laminated components, including those utilizing thermally fused laminate (TFL), 3D laminates (3DL), 2D laminates (2DL), high-pressure laminate, as well as decorative foils and papers, had 35.0% selecting composite panel (MDF/particleboard) from the list. Click on the graph below to enlarge.

How is your business?
At the time of the survey (February and March), more than half of the respondents projected 2020 sales to be the same or higher, while slightly more than that anticipated net income to also be about the same or somewhat higher.  Likewise, expenditures, including raw material, labor, plant and equipment costs, were also projected to be the same or slightly higher compared to 2019 by more than half of the respondents.

Since the forced closing by a number of companies for a month or two due to COVID-19, the results of the query if done today may be significantly different.

Wage rates for low, moderately and highly skilled workers. Click on the graph to enlarge.

The third annual Wood Components Benchmark Study provides insight into market sales, product categories, and business performance projections and other relevant information. For more information about the study or the sponsoring organizations, contact the Wood Products Manufacturers Association at 978-874-5445, [email protected] or by visiting WPMA.org, the Wood Component Manufacturers Association at 651-332-6332, [email protected] or by visiting  WCMA.com, or Woodworking Network at woodworkingnetwork.com.

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