The sentiment of future business in the carpet/area rug segment is definitely mixed according to panelists in an exclusive Carpet and Area Rug Market Study conducted by BNP Media Market Research forNational Floor Trendsmagazine.

Shown is Shaw’s Poetic Simplicity, part of the company’s ClearTouch Collection made using fiber produced from recycled plastic bottles.

The sentiment of future business in the carpet/area rug segment is definitely mixed according to panelists in an exclusive Carpet and Area Rug Market Study conducted by BNP Media Market Research for National Floor Trendsmagazine. Residential and commercial carpet sales are expected to increase in 2011 with the uptick in the residential carpet segment being tied to recent increases in carpet sales, pent up demand and the expectation of more remodeling of existing homes and a better economy. Additionally, carpet is one of the most cost-effective floor coverings, and the choice of many consumers who are reluctant to part with hard-earned money.

For 2010, carpet sales continued to match the level of 2009 with an average of 29 transactions each month.

Total annual sales of carpet of $1 million or more dropped to 20%, compared to 38% of respondents in 2009. (See chart 1)The average ticket per carpet sale was $1,968, with 46% at $2,000 or more.

Carpet displays continue to be the main product category on the showroom floor with 54% of floor space devoted to the category. Carpet sales continue to be split between residential and commercial at 68% and 32% respectively, consistent with 2009 results. 

Looking ahead, 58% of respondents expect an increase in residential carpet sales, while just 10% see their business dropping in the category. In the commercial sector, 37% are expecting an increase in business, while 7% are planning for a decline.(See chart 2)

On the commercial side, the panel sees an improving economy, and as the economy improves more office space will be leased. The panel expects more commercial business through their increased bidding efforts, in-house specifying and new departments focused on commercial. Those seeing a decline in commercial in 2011 are not actively pursuing the segment, but rather “fall into commercial, not hunt it.”

When carpet sales are displaced by a hard surface category, hardwood garners most of the sales at 44%, resilient, 16% (a gain of 9% from 2009), followed by laminate, 12%, ceramic tile, 7% and stone, 1%.

Product quality (95%), service/support (90%), price (86%), product design and styling (85%) are the top factors our panel cited in their decision to sell/promote a particular brand/manufacturer of residential carpet.(See chart 3)

Shaw was named top supplier in the both the residential and commercial carpet segments by the panelists with 57% share in residential and 55% in commercial.  Compared to 2009, the residential brands remained the same with an overall rating of 85%; product design and styling, 89%; knowledge of sales reps, 80% and breadth of product line, 79%. Product availability, product quality and durability, website information, and quality of distributors were also tremendous areas of improvement with significant gains.

The panel is sourcing their carpet direct from domestic manufacturer at 72%; carpet distributor, 14% (+4%); general flooring distributor, 12%; and direct from import manufacturer, 2%.

In the commercial sector, product quality (88%), service/support (87%), price (86%) and product design and styling (83%) are the top factors cited to sell/promote a particular brand/manufacturer. Environmental concerns, 36%, is the least influential factor in deciding to sell a particular brand/manufacturer of carpet.

In the area rug segment, sales have dropped with respondents selling an average of four rugs per month. The average price point is $528 with 60% of sales under $499. Total annual area rug sales average $12,212, with 53% selling $10,000-$24,999. It is interesting that panelists are dedicating more floor space to area rugs while garnering a smaller return compared to 2009. Shaw Living was named the top selling brand of area rugs by the respondents with 49%.

Rug sales are expected to stay the same according to 54% of respondents, while 34% see an increase and 12% project a decrease. Sales are expected to increase due to more hard surface floors (hardwood and ceramic) being sold and then the immediate impulse sale of an area rug.

Product design and styling (92%) and product quality (86%) were the top factors in our panel deciding to sell/promote a particular brand/manufacturer of area rugs.