The Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo’s annual economic survey provides an overview of the Finnish design industry and current trends. The findings of the latest survey, carried out in June 2016, show that Finnish design businesses are seeing an acceleration in their turnover growth, with profitability also rising year-on-year. The number of design industry businesses seeking growth outstrips the national average for SMEs and is seeing strong, year-on-year growth in this consistently dynamic sector. However, exports are stalling and there is not sufficient growth to drive up the industry’s combined turnover.
In 2014, the total turnover for Finnish design industry businesses stood at EUR 3.1 bn, while the corresponding figure for the previous year was EUR 3.2 bn. The industry offers employment to 19,600 people across Finland. The figures are derived from Statistics Finland’s enterprise data, published as part of the design industry economic forecast.
Underlying the downturn is the radical downscaling of Finland’s manufacturing sector, which the growth in services cannot match. Manufacturing output has continued to decline throughout the review period from 2007–2014. In order for the Finnish design industry to continue to develop, it is critically important for businesses to set their sights on the international market.
Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo 2016 economic survey – the key findings:
- More than half of the businesses surveyed by Ornamo reported an increase in their turnover compared with the same time last year. A total of 23% of businesses reported a downturn in their turnover, while last year the same figure stood at 38%.
- Many of Finland’s design industry businesses are pursuing ambitious growth targets. Of the respondents, 70% expect their turnover to rise in the following year. The same number also expect to see a rise in profits in 2016–2017.
- The international markets represent a significant growth opportunity for the Finnish design sector. According to 8% of respondents, their international business activities are well-established and seeing steady development, with 16% reporting that they are making determined efforts to expand their international activities. To date, the international markets represent more than 10% of the turnover of only a fifth of Finnish design businesses. A handful of businesses reported a rate of 50%.
- Finnish design industry businesses are increasingly well-placed to benefit from digitalisation. In practical terms, all those surveyed have a website and nearly three quarters are making use of social media. Some 57% of businesses make their purchases online and 54% rely on cloud-based services. A third trade online and use digital channels in their service provision.
The latest economic survey was carried out by Pekka Lith in June 2016. The survey attracted responses from some 130 design industry businesses.