Europe is well known in the world as one of the major industrial fastener markets. Backed by advanced technology, smart manufacturing, and many manufacturers in the region, the market exhibits high demand for specialized and application-specific fasteners. In addition to technical features, price competition has also greatly influenced the trend of the European fastener market. The German fastener market is attractive for local and international manufacturers, especially Asian manufacturers and suppliers from developing countries, while imports between European countries continue to shrink.
The German fastener market has seen impressive growth and improvement over the past decade. This brings opportunities for international manufacturers and traders to export large volumes of standard fasteners at low prices or specialized fasteners at reasonably higher prices to this market. Although the two different products have their markets in Germany due to industrial diversity and development, the demand in this market is currently beginning to develop in the direction of special-purpose fasteners.
Germany, with a population of about 83 million, is the most densely populated place in the European Union. The country is a center of industrial progress in Europe and home to many internationally renowned manufacturing plants. Germany is the largest economy in the region and the number one trading partner of most European countries such as France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, and Sweden. This fully explains Germany's important role in the European economy.
The industry is the most important part of the German economy and it continues to create demand for fasteners. Although Germany is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of industrial fasteners, the country still imports large quantities of fasteners from regional and global manufacturers. European fastener manufacturers generate huge revenues by exporting their products to the German market. Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, France, and many EU countries export fasteners to Germany. Outside the EU, Taiwan and China are the largest exporters of fasteners to the German market. Germany is an attractive market for fastener exporters. Imports from developing countries are growing fast, as those markets are moving towards specialized and high-quality fastener production. Especially Germany's growth in Industry 4.0 and advanced technology have created many new demands for high-quality and specialized fasteners.
Italy, Taiwan, and China are all major suppliers to Germany. In the first half of 2019, the three countries exported a total of US$745 million in fasteners to Germany. This value accounted for 2.128 billion US dollars of Germany's total fastener imports in the same period. The import and export of fasteners include items with the customs product code 7318-screws, bolts, nuts, carriage screws, screw hooks, pull rivets, pins, cotter pins, gaskets, and related parts made of steel.
Comparing the data in the first half of 2018 and the first half of 2019 shows that exports to Germany from the United States, India, France, and China have increased, while other major exporting countries have declined. Although the advancement of technology and the prosperity of smart manufacturing require many high-quality and special-application fastener products, standard and low-cost fasteners still play an important role in the market. In addition, because the European market is full of unlicensed, cheap, and low-quality fasteners provided by many Chinese suppliers, the dumping of many products from China has resulted in relatively fierce price competition. This is for some industries that do not pay much attention to brand myths. It is said that the impact is particularly large.
In terms of import volume, Taiwan is the source of fastener supply for the German market. In 2018, Taiwan exported about 186,766 tons of fasteners to Germany. In the first half of 2019, Taiwanese fastener suppliers exported more than 85,000 tons of fasteners, slightly lower than their exports in the first half of 2018. Compared with other countries exporting to Germany, the top three exporting countries Taiwan, Italy, and China have a big gap between each other. In the first two quarters of 2019, these three countries exported more than 222,000 tons of fasteners to Germany, accounting for about 45% of Germany's total fastener imports. Excluding the United States, Germany is the largest importer of fasteners in terms of export value, and Germany is also the largest exporter of fasteners, followed by China and Taiwan respectively. In the first two quarters of 2019, Germany exported more than US$3.418 billion of fasteners to the global market. China, France, and the United States are the main export destinations of German fasteners. During the same time frame, Germany exported $339 million of fasteners to China, $278.5 million to France, and $265.6 million to the United States.
In 2018, Germany exported more than 913,000 tons of fasteners to the world. In the first half of 2019, Germany exported about 474,000 tons of fasteners, slightly lower than the 478,000 tons exported in the first half of 2018. In Europe, Germany is the manufacturing leader in almost every industry and is expected to continue to maintain its dominance in the region. The largest market for fasteners remains the automotive industry, which has an increasing demand for specialized fasteners. The continuous development of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing will have more and more impact on fastener manufacturing and supply chain transformation.