2014 Flooring Industry Study: Flooring Market Has Room To Grow
The 2014 Floor TrendsFlooring Industry Study, conducted recently by BNP Market Research and compiled from answers given by readers of Floor Trends,Floor Covering Installer, Stone World, Contemporary Stone & Tile Designand Tile Magazine, offers a look at a flooring market poised for continued growth.
Compared to 2013, a majority of respondents (54%) felt sales had slightly increased in 2014; an additional 20% believed sales had significantly risen. (See Chart 1)
More than half of respondents said 2013 flooring sales were over $500,000, including 5% with sales of $20 million or more; 21% seeing sales of $1.5 to $19.99 million; 18% with sales of $750,000 to $1.49 million, and 11% seeing sales of $500,000 to $749,000.
Overall flooring market. Looking at the overall picture, 89% of respondents said they primarily sell tile/stone, followed closely by resilient/vinyl/LVT (80%), carpet (79%), hardwood (77%) and laminate (76%). Trailing behind was area rugs, at 40%. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they sell all categories but area rugs, while 35% noted they sell all six categories. Twelve percent said they sell tile and stone only.
Respondents’ showroom floor space is given over to a mix of categories, with carpet at the top (36%), followed by tile/stone (25%), hardwood (16%), resilient/vinyl/LVT (13%), laminate (8%) and area rugs (4%). Not surprisingly, the amount of space given to a category also closely mirrored its share of 2013 sales. (See Chart 2)
Residential replacement accounted for almost half of respondents’ sales (48%) followed by residential new construction (17%), commercial replacement (15%) and commercial new construction (13%). More than half of respondents (52%) believe residential sales were going to slightly increase this year. Nearly half (48%) also felt the same about commercial sales.
Area rugs. A large majority of respondents (85%) said 2013 area rug sales were less than $100,000, while close to half (48%) believe sales will remain flat this year, and 37% said a slight increase is coming. Only 3% believe the increase will be significant. Attitudes last year were almost the same, with the only significant change being 10% fewer people thought sales would slightly increase in the following year.
As far as rug sizes, the most popular sold is 5 x 8 (52%), followed by 6 x 9 (50%) and “other”—which includes 8 x 10 and custom sizes—at 42%. (See Chart 3) The vast majority of respondents (83%) sell machine-made area rugs.
Carpets. Turning their attention to carpet, over half of the respondents said their 2013 sales for the product were less than $500,000, with 20% at the $250,000 to $499,999 range, 22% at the $100,000 to $249,999 range, and 15% at less than $100,000. About half (48%) of respondents expect no change in sales this year compared to last year, while 37% expect a slight increase.
Looking at carpet product type, 89% of respondents sell carpet tile and further estimate that 28% of their carpet sales are of the “super soft” fiber type. Nylon makes up the bulk of the material at 50%, followed by polyester (37%), wool (10%) and “other” (3%) which includes olefin and SmartStrand products. (See Chart 4)
The overall perception of carpet ranked high with respondents (62%). Also in the 60% range was ease of installation (67%), product durability (66%) and product styling available (62%).
Hardwood. The majority of respondents (55%) saw less than $100,000 in hardwood sales last year. Sales trends were a mixed bag. Forty percent of respondents believe hardwood sales have seen a slight increase this year, while 37% see sales as flat. Last year, 52% of respondents believed sales would slightly increase in the following year and 27% thought they would be flat.
The top-selling species remains red oak (43% in 2014; 48% in 2013), followed by hickory (24% in 2014; 27% in 2013). Other types of wood floors were virtually indistinguishable in sales between the two years, with bamboo and white oak both at 7% in both years, maple rising to 6% from 4% in 2013, Brazilian cherry dropping to 4% from 7% in 2013, walnut rising to 4% from no showing in 2013, and cork, pine and “other exotics” including Acacia rising to 2% from no showing in 2013. (See Chart 5)
Most respondents chose mills/national brands for their hardwood flooring needs (79%), with a smooth/glossy finish winning out at 52%, followed by rustic/distressed (43%) and an oil finish trailing behind at 5%.
The overall perception of the category was seen as very good or excellent by 67% of respondents. Also in the 60% range were product styling available (63%) and popularity with consumers (62%).
Laminate. Laminate sales were less than $100,000 for 69% of respondents, while sales trends were very similar between last year and this year. Thirty-six percent of respondents felt laminate sales would remain flat this year; 34% had the same opinion last year. Twenty-eight percent think sales will slightly increase this year; 25% felt the same last year. (See Chart 6)
Mill/national brands account for 80% of laminate sales among respondents, while wood-look designs continue to lead the pack at 88% of laminate flooring sold.
Laminate ranks highly for ease of installation (64%), but less than 50% for attributes including cost to the customer (49%), product styling available (48%) and product durability (44%).
Resilient/vinyl/LVT. A little over half of respondents (53%) saw sales of less than $100,000 for resilient in 2013. However, with interest in the category continuing to heat up, 63% of respondents believe sales will increase this year over last year, compared to 60% believing sales would be up in 2013 compared to the previous year.
LVT/LVP was the top resilient product type sold (95%), followed closely by VCT (92%) and sheet (87%). Other product types within the segment surveyed included fiberglass (62%), felt (39%), linoleum (34%) and “other,” including self-stick products (2%). (See Chart 7)
When selecting resilient flooring, respondents overwhelming chose mills/national brands (86%) and plank formats (62%). Two product attributes ranked at nearly 70%: Product durability and product styling available (both at 69%). Ease of installation and popularity with consumers also tied at 49%.
Tile/stone. Thirty-nine percent of respondents saw less than $100,000 in tile/stone sales in 2013. However, 48% expect a slight increase in sales this year and 15% expect a significant increase. This is comparable to last year, where 42% felt there would be a slight increase and 16% thought the increase would be significant.
A vast majority (78%) of respondents choose tile/stone from a mill/national brand. Sold by type, porcelain tile accounts for 50% of sales, followed by ceramic tile (29%), stone (20%) and other (less than 1%).
Domestic U.S. tile/stone also leads at 50% of respondents, followed by Italian (19%), Mexican (8%), Chinese, Spanish and Turkish (all at 7%), and Brazilian (3%). (See Chart 8)
Overall perception of the category is high at 65%. Concerning specific attributes, product durability measured at 89% and product styling available reached 76%. Two other attributes hit 50% or higher: Popularity with consumers (58%) and eco-friendliness (50%).
Social media and the Internet. To get a complete picture of the retailer in today’s market, the survey asked questions in relation to a respondent’s social media and Internet presence.
Nearly half of respondents (46%) said they feature their business both through a website and a social media presence, while 23% said they have only a website and 5% said they only have a social media presence.
Despite the continued importance of the Internet for businesses looking to build their brands, a full quarter of respondents said they have neither a website nor a social media presence. (See Chart 9) When asked to rate the relative usefulness of having an Internet presence, respondents chose keeping a company website at 45% compared to 25% for social media.
Editor’s note:For more information or to order a full copy of the 2014 Floor TrendsFlooring Industry Study, contact Ulka Bhide, senior market research analyst, at email@example.com or (248) 786-1678.