Fifty-two percent of respondents acknowledged increased residential hardwood sales this year vs. 2002 with another 34 percent stating their year-over-year hardwood volume stayed the same in 2003. Only 14 percent noted a decrease in the wood sector.
Commercial hardwood sales, according to survey respondents, have stayed the same (78 percent), with 14 percent noting a decline in 2003 compared to 2002. Only 8 percent are seeing an increase in commercial hardwood sales.
Annual hardwood floor sales average $123,370 per responding dealer/contractor with an average hardwood floor sales ticket of $3,269 (Chart 1).
Forty-eight percent of wood floors are being installed via the nail-down/staple method (up 8 percent from last year); glueless (floating), 27 percent (down 2 percent from 2002); and adhesive on 25 percent of jobs (down 6 percent from 2002) (Chart 2). And, solid and engineered products equally split the market with a 50 percent share each. Prefinished totals 88 percent of all wood sales (up 3 percent from 2002).
According to the study, issues currently impacting the wood floor business are topped by (multiple responses allowed): increasing competition from other flooring channels, 48 percent; increasing numbers of Big Box channels and other flooring types, 43 percent; eroding profit margins, 38 percent; consolidation among retailers and manufacturers, 22 percent; and consumer brand switching, 11 percent.
Other important survey findings include: retailer/contractors now use an average of 23 percent (up from 19 percent in 2002) of their store's floor space for hardwood products. More retailers/contractors are recommending hardwood floors to their customers than in 2002 (Chart 3). And, their customers' response to hardwood is higher than last year (Chart 4). The retailer/contractor customer perceives the hardwood characteristics of quality, selection/styling, durability and maintenance at their highest levels with price being viewed more to the average, compared to our 2002 results.
Our retailer/contractor respondents are using a combination of in-house installers and independent contractors to get the wood job completed. Thirty-two percent use in-house installers only, 31 percent use both in-house and independent labor, and 38 percent use only independent contractors. And, when providing installation services, 89 percent of our retailer/contractors specify all products to be used on the job.
These are just some of the findings in NFT's 2003 Hardwood Flooring Market Trends Study. The complete study is available for $225 each or $195 for multiple copies.