Continued growth is projected for the floor covering industry based upon results of the just-completed Market Trends Study. The next few years will be bright for specialty floor covering retailers/contractors, distributors, and manufacturers.
The carpet (+19%), ceramic tile (+17%), wood (+17%) and laminate floor (+15%) segments, according to our specialty retailer panel, will have the largest amount of projected growth through the end of 2006. (Chart 1)
The Market Trends Study explored consumer perceptions of all types of floor coverings, manufacturer/distributor relationships and performance, and business expansion. This month's portion of the Market Trends Study reviews the various residential product segments.
Our responding panel selected Shaw Living as their top rug brand if they could only sell from a single supplier with a 42% share, followed by Oriental Weavers, 10%; Nourison, 8%; Karastan, 7%; Sphinx, 6%; and Mohawk, 5%. Other (21%) manufacturers mentioned include: Capel, Milliken, Beaulieu, Dalyn, Gulistan, Hellenic Imports, Masland, Momeni, Stanton, 828, Balta, Colonial Mills and Fabrica.
Residential area rug customers perceive selection/styling as the top characteristic, at 59% when making a purchase, followed by quality, 48%; value, 45%; and then durability, price and maintenance. (Chart 2)
Dealers rated area rug manufacturers and distributors best in product selection, scheduling and on-time delivery and poorest in effective sales incentives; effective promotions/merchandise display; consumer advertising programs; and effective co-op advertising programs.
Shaw was selected as the top carpet brand with a 44% share, followed by Mohawk, 31%; Beaulieu, 6%; and others totaling 19%. The other manufacturers included: Gulistan, Royalty, Fabrica, C & A; Custom Weave; Tuftex; 828; Atlas and 12 others.
Residential carpet customers perceive selection/styling as the top characteristic, at 66% when making a purchase, followed by value, 41%; quality, 40%; and then durability, maintenance and price. (Chart 3)
Accessibility of reps by manufacturer and distributor personnel was rated highest in the category followed by scheduling and on-time delivery and optimum production selections. The poorest rated category was effective co-op advertising.
Named the top ceramic tile brand was Dal-Tile with a 30% share. American Olean was next with 17%; Mohawk, 10%; Florida Tile, 7%; Mannington, 6%; Shaw, 5%; with others tallying 25%.
Residential ceramic tile customers perceive durability as the top characteristic at 81% when making a purchase, followed by quality, 67%; selection/styling, 65%; value, 60%; and then price and maintenance. (Chart 4)
Scheduling and on-time delivery; optimum product selections; and competitive pricing were rated highest by our panel. Our panelists definitely want co-op advertising programs along with a consumer advertising program.
Top wood brand Bruce holds a 25% share followed by Mannington, 12%; Mohawk, 8%; Anderson, Kahrs and Mirage, 7% each; Hartco, 6%; and other mentions totaling 28%.
Residential hardwood customers perceive price as the top characteristic at 76% when making a purchase, followed by quality, 74%; durability, 74%; value, 62%; and selection/styling and maintenance. (Chart 5)
Scheduling and on-time delivery; accessibility of reps; and optimum product selections were rated the highest in the wood category. Consumer advertising programs and effective co-op advertising are areas needing improvement by manufacturers and product distributors.
Wilsonart is the top laminate floor brand with a 28% share, followed by Quick Step/Unilin, 14%; Mannington, 12%; Alloc and Pergo, 9%; Shaw, 8%; Mohawk, 7%; and others, 13%.
Residential laminate floor customers perceive durability as the top characteristic at 59% when making a purchase, followed by quality, 40%; selection/styling, 39%; value, 38%; and then price and maintenance. (Chart 6)
Distributor and manufacturers rate highest in scheduling and on-time delivery; optimum product selections and installation specifications, while an effective co-op advertising program is wanted by the floor covering retailers.
The top resilient floor brand is Mannington with a 38% share. Armstrong holds the second position with 25%; followed by Congoleum, 22%; Tarkett, 7%; Domco, 5%; and others, 3%.
Residential luxury vinyl customers perceive price as the top characteristic at 54%; followed by quality, 53%; durability, 49%; selection/styling, 40%; value, 31%; and then maintenance. (Chart 7)
Residential sheet vinyl customers perceive selection/styling as the top characteristic at 40% when making a purchase, followed by value, 25%; quality, 24%; durability, 24%; and then price and maintenance. (Chart 8)
Manufacturers and distributors were rated highest in scheduling and on-time delivery and optimum product selections. A consumer advertising program and effective co-op advertising are on wish list of our respondents.
Our retailer panel also weighed in the various factors they use to select a manufacturer and/or distributor vendor partner. Cited as the most significant factor in selecting a manufacturer/distributor is scheduling and on-time delivery, 79%. Next important factor was the handling of complaints and service issues by reps, 75%; followed by competitive pricing, 73%; accessibility of rep, 69%; product guarantees/warranties, 45%.
Optimum product selections; installation specifications; consumer insight and knowledge, store level training; ideas for increasing business; effective sales incentives; effective promotions/merchandise display; effective co-op advertising; and consumer advertising programs, are at the lower end of the scale when retailers are considering a manufacturer or distributor partner. (Chart 9)
Our group of responding floor covering dealers identifies installation and quality installation as the top two most-important issues facing the industry today. These two issues have been at the top of the list of the concerns for many, many years. The solution to quality installation will only be solved after all segments (manufacturer, distributor, retailer and installer) partner for the initial and on-going education of the floor covering installer.
Next month's portion will cover the commercial segment of the retailer's business, areas of increased investment, the trend toward green products, the retailer's floor covering product mix; sales by segment; fastest growing segment; and 2005 overall expected sales.