Our exclusive survey of 260 flooring retailers finds that the resilient floor category is changing its product mix. Resilient flooring sales continue to average 14 sales per month – consistent with 2008 sales. Thirty percent of respondents have annual sales of $200,000 or more in the segment. The demand for alternative floor coverings affects the growth of the resilient floor segment.
The residential replacement segment (49%) continues to be the leading source of sales among retailers with growth in the contract/commercial segment to 22% from the previous year. (Chart 2) Similar to two years ago, respondents report the residential replacement market as the fastest growing part of their business last year along with expansion in their contract/commercial business. They anticipate this growth to continue in 2009. (Chart 3)
Retailers continue to purchase resilient flooring from an average of four suppliers. They are working less with distributors and more with domestic and import manufacturers.
Survey respondents cite product reliability and quality as the most influential attributes when deciding to sell or promote a particular brand of resilient flooring. Rated second most important is product design and styling. Product availability, distributor service/support, ease of installation and durability are tied for third.
The top selling brand of resilient flooring is Mannington, 30%; followed by Armstrong, 25%; and Congoleum, 11%. In the luxury vinyl tile category, Mannington took top honors at 22%, Congoleum, 15%; and Nafco, 12%.
Looking at the balance of 2009, our survey group expects resilient flooring sales to decrease due to the weakened economy, job losses, housing market slump and alternative hard-surface products. Retailers are using the Internet to promote and sell more this year than last and that trend will continue.
Products in the category are being recommended to more customers than in previous studies according to survey participants. And, retailers continue to have a significant influence in their customers purchase decision with nearly one-third of respondents saying their recommendation of a different product influences the customer over 50% of the time. Likewise, flooring dealers/contractors indicate that their recommendation on resilient floor brands heavily influences their customers.
After the purchase, consumers contact flooring dealers most about cleaning/care and maintenance.