NFT 2009 Exclusive Survey: Mixed Signals Arise in Laminate Flooring Segment
August 20, 2009
The laminate flooring category is in a state of transition. Respondents to the recently conducted National Floor Trends/Clear Seas Research 2009 Laminate Flooring Market Study said consumers continue to see laminate flooring as a durable and fashion-forward choice. However, the segment’s business is shrinking in part to stiffer competition and eroding profit margins.
The good news: Our panel group views laminate flooring as a profitable alternative to vinyl and wood flooring and report the average ticket amount per sale is $1,432. Further, respondents report that their annual sales of laminate flooring typically fall between $50,000 and $100,000 and average roughly $4.00 per square foot. The size of an average laminate flooring job is between 300 and 399 square feet.
Product reliability and quality is the top attribute respondents said they use to determine whether they will promote/sell a particular brand of laminate flooring. Product design and styling, and ease of installation/maintenance round out the top three attributes. (Chart 1)
Trained salespeople in the showroom are key to selling laminate flooring, respondents noted. They are major influencers in the buying process for customers; respondents believe they influence customers to purchase different brands of laminate and even guide them to other flooring product types when they feel it will be a better fit.
Our panelists devote an average of 11% of their showroom space to laminate flooring. Glueless installation accounts for more sales than adhesive installs.
On an unaided basis, Armstrong, Quick-Step, Shaw, Wilsonart Flooring and Mannington are the brands mentioned by most respondents as their top selling brand of laminate flooring.
Product improvements continue to lead the laminate flooring category and compared to other flooring products, respondents report laminate flooring to rarely be the source of consumer complaints. Consumer concerns seem to be declining; however, the top four complaints mentioned most among respondents include: Cleaning/care/maintenance; water damage; clicking sound and chipping/scratches.
The challenges facing laminate flooring manufacturers in the next two years are believed to be product innovation, combating alternative hard surface flooring and installation services.
According to respondents, consumers view laminate flooring products as offering high durability, average price and maintenance, and near the high-end of average for styling/selection, quality and overall appeal. (Chart 2)
The bad news: Respondents report few monthly laminate sales each month and expect sales to decline in 2009 for both residential and commercial use. (Chart 3) According to respondents, the drop in segment business can be attributed to an increased level of competition from Big Box retailers, increasing competition from other flooring channels and eroding profit margins.
This is a snapshot of an in-depth study examining the retail market for laminate flooring. The conclusions are based on the opinions, preferences and purchasing behaviors of 62 U.S. flooring retailers/contractors who are also active, qualified subscribers of National Floor Trends (NFT) magazine or Building Materials Talk Panel members. The study was conducted online between June 16- June 30, 2009.
The full report includes up-to-date information on key issues and market trends shaping the laminate flooring segment. For information about ordering, or to learn more about Clear Seas Research, contact Kelly Clinton at email@example.com