NFT Exclusive Study: Hardwood and Carpet Segments to Lead Residential Replacement Recovery in 2011
February 13, 2011
Over three-fifths (61%) of our panel expects the carpet category to continue to grow during the next 12 months.
Nearly two-fifths (39%) of our respondents experienced increased hardwood sales during the past 12 months, followed by carpet (33%), according to our just-completed Market Trends Study completed by 102 flooring dealers and contractors. Other flooring categories also tallied gains: resilient, 28% and ceramic tile, 28%, with overall sales increasing during the last 12 months from 26% of the respondents. (Chart 1)
Laminate flooring showed the largest category drop with 49% reporting that sales decreased. The stone/marble segment registered a 46% decrease during the past 12 months.
Over three-fifths (61%) of our panel expects the carpet category to continue to grow during the next 12 months. And with sales growing in all segments, overall sales are projected to grow by 65% of the panel. Gross annual sales are expected to increase slightly in 2011 for 56% of the panel, while 8% of respondents project a significant increase in 2011 sales. (Chart 2)
Of those flooring dealers/contractors expecting an increase, 48% project growth of between 6-10%, with a mean of 14%.
The residential replacement segment will be the leading area for the responding retailers at 57%, followed by contract/commercial, 19% and builder/new construction, 16%. Main Street commercial will account for 8% of retailer sales.
In the past 12 months sales have changed for the respondents as follows: 9% said residential replacement increased significantly; contract/commercial increased slightly at 26%; builder/new construction decreased significantly at 37%; and in Main Street commercial, 40% said sales have remained the same. Current business conditions are slightly better for 31% of respondents; just about the same number of panelists see business about the same as a year ago.
Over half of the panel (52%) expects business to be slightly better in the next 12 months. It is interesting to note that flooring retailers are selling hardwood flooring products (89%) just as much as carpet (86%), laminate flooring (86%) and vinyl/resilient (85%). Carpet still controls most floor covering sales with a 36% share, followed by hardwood, 16%; ceramic tile, 14%; resilient flooring, 12%; laminate floors, 9% and stone/marble, 6% and area rugs, 2%. Other products respondents report selling countertops, 3%; window coverings, 1%; and paint, 1%.
The panel reports that marketing and advertising, computers/software, showroom design and training and education are the top areas retailers will increase their investment over the next two years.
Our respondents prefer to interact with their manufacturer/distributor reps on a local basis (69%), followed by an in-house manufacturer employee, 21%; a manufacturer website, 5%; manufacturer literature without direct contact, 4%; B2B computer application, 1%; and other, 1%.
In evaluating the attributes or characteristics when selecting or purchasing a brand of floor covering, competitive pricing was most important at 93%, followed by scheduling and on-time delivery, 92%; responsiveness in handling claims/services, 90%; accessibility of the representative at 87%, providing installation specifications, 76%; and color choices/styles/selection at 75%. The least important characteristic was effective co-op advertising at 30%. (Chart 3)
Most of the panel (80%) sees a trend toward environmentally responsible flooring products and materials. And in these difficult times, our panel was about evenly split on adding new product categories during the past 12 months. (Chart 4)