Contemporary European Design | EU Gateway | Business Avenues

Contemporary European Design






Sub-sectors include:

  • Interior lighting
  • Small furniture
  • Finished home textiles
  • Wallpapers
  • Carpets
  • Curtains
  • Decorative items (such as clocks, pottery, high-end design tableware and cutlery)
  • Bathroom accessories


EU Focus

Design has become an important competitive factor for the European economy and industry. Design is not only limited to matters of “styling” but it is seen as a driver of innovation that can support sustainable growth and improvements in the quality of life.

The global design industry is a large and diverse sector. It is estimated that there are approximately 410,000 professionally-trained designers practicing in Europe generating an annual turnover of € 36 billion. Design is offering a wide range of opportunities for growth particularly for micro-companies and SMEs. 

Interior Lighting

Giving the increasing amount of time that people are spending indoor, the lighting market is going in the direction of providing healthier indoor environments. Human centric lighting, which can improve concentration, safety and efficiency, is expected to reach a € 1.4 billion market volume by 2020.The lighting sector has adapted in recent years to give a greater focus on energy efficiency. The use of LEDs for general lighting has strong potentials. In fact, LEDs are efficient and cheap to operate, and do not contain toxic materials. It is estimated that by 2020 LEDs will represent 75% of lighting business. By the same year, approximately 45% of the global LED market is expected to be in Asia. 



The furniture industry is a labour-intensive and dynamic sector dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro firms. The EU furniture sector makes up about 25% of the world’s furniture production. The sector employs around 1 million workers in 130 thousand companies generating an annual turnover of around € 96 billion. The EU is a world leader in the high-end segment of the furniture market. Nearly two out of every three high-end furniture products sold in the world are produced in the EU.


Home Textiles

Home textiles include products such as, kitchen, table and bed linen, curtains and carpets. The European home textiles market is highly competitive and characterised by strong buyer power. The market also shows high levels of fragmentation. Exports have been regaining strength after the crisis and have been increasing be an average annual growth rate of 4.4% between 2010 and 2014. The main EU exporters of home decoration and home textiles are: Germany (€ 22 billion), Italy (€ 12 billion) and France (€ 9.6 billion).



The global wallpaper industry is in expansion. Between 2007 and 2013 the market increased with an average annual growth of 10% and is expected to growth by almost 4% per annum in the next few years. The EU-28 aggregated turnover of the wallpaper industry was more than € 1 billion in 2010, generated by 114 enterprises.


Home Accessories

Home accessories include products such as small furniture, decoration items, pots and pans, candles, glassware and ceramics, and cutlery. European production of home accessories has stabilised as countries are recovering from the economic crisis, though it is still below production levels in 2009. Decreased production is also caused by the long-term outsourcing trend to the Far East. Europe is still the centre of production of high quality, traditional, well-known premium brands.

md xs sm lg