Seventy-five percent of consumers surveyed used online resources when shopping for their recent flooring purchase. Photo courtesy CCA Global Partners.

In another segment of research commissioned by the World Floor Covering Association and conducted in August 2011 by Clear Seas Research, 494 consumers who remodeled/updated one or more rooms in the past six months and installed new flooring presented their views on green flooring; online information resources; specialty flooring retailer websites; social media; and popular flooring types and installation.

Data on specialty flooring retailer websites, popular flooring types and installation are available through the World Floor Covering Association.

Green Flooring

While four-in-10 consumers did not consider purchasing green flooring, more than half probably or definitely would consider purchasing green flooring in the future. The main barrier for green flooring is price, as most consumers believe it is more expensive than traditional flooring. Additionally, most consumers are not willing to go out of their way to purchase green flooring. See Chart 1.

Interest in green flooring is significantly higher in the West than in other parts of the country. Appearance is still key to closing the sale.

When asked about what comes to mind when they think about green flooring options today, the primary response is bamboo, followed by recycling.

The two prominent hurdles that may need to be overcome to expand green flooring purchases focus on educating consumers on the quality of green flooring alternatives compared to traditional flooring products; and increasing consumer awareness of the availability of green flooring alternatives.  

Information Resources

Seventy-five percent of consumers surveyed used online resources when shopping for their most recent flooring purchase. The big box websites were the most often used online resources, followed by flooring manufacturer websites and search engines. Just over one-in-three consumers accessed the website of a specialty flooring dealer. Looking deeper at the data, only one-in-three actually researched and selected a specific brand online to purchase before visiting a store.

For search engine users, only a few recalled clicking on a sponsored link. And for those clicking on a link, they did so because of the advertised specials, recognizable brand or store name. Search engine reviews of specialty flooring stores are more influential than the Yellow Pages website and Angie’s List, as more than two-in-five are influenced by search engine reviews. Consumers are most likely to decide to visit a store to purchase flooring products based on previous experiences with a store, information they’ve found online or based on a referral from someone they know.

According to the study, consumers in the Northeast are the least likely to have used online resources in helping them decide what flooring products to purchase, compared to all other regions. 

Social Media and Flooring Retailers

Even though 80 percent of survey participants use social media, they are unlikely to use it to find a specialty flooring retailer and do not find it important that specialty flooring retailers are involved in social media. Social media does appear to positively influence consumers’ perceptions of specialty floor retailers. Consumers indicate that retailers involved in social media are focused on growing their customer base and feel that those retailers are more up-to-date on current product trends, are doing well and are investing in new ways to better serve their customers.

Editor’s Note:The above findings are based on research conducted on behalf of the World Floor Covering Association, which commissioned Clear Seas Research (a sister company to National Floor Trends) to conduct the 2011 WFCA Consumer Study. The study group consisted of 494 consumers who have remodeled/updated one or more rooms in the past six months and installed new flooring. The research study was conducted from Aug. 3-4, 2011. For a complete report, contact