Stuart Hirschhorn, research director at Catalina Research, shares his thoughts on what floor covering sales will look like in 2019. Looking at the demand side, Hirschhorn expects floor covering growth remain at 4-5% with the consumer being the leader, the commercial side doing well, and the builder market slowing. Hirschhorn expects a slowing at least in the first half of 2019 on the part of suppliers that import because of the surge of imports in the 3rd and 4th fourth quarters of 2018 in anticipated Chinese tariffs. Also discussed are the LVT, resilient, and wood sectors.
Mike Cherico, vice president of Floors and More. discusses the group and its elements including, Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet and Floor to Ceiling, and the approach each takes to the market. He talks about the value of retailers offering flooring products as well as membership growth, the factors that drive retailers to join groups, the advantages to retailer from joining a group and the changing competitive environment in the flooring market.
George Celtrick, owner of Whitewood Products, offers an update of the hardwood flooring sector, discussing the pressure wood look-a-likes are putting on hardwood. He also talks about growth at the high end of the business and some of the problems that exist at the lower end, the pricing of the sector, and the pressure placed on the sector by LVT, as well as overcapacity in the industry and products manufactured in China.
Piet Dossche, president of USFloors and executive vice president, Shaw Industries, talks about the company's latest resilient introduction, Coretec Stone, and how it aims to be a game changer for installation and a competitor to ceramic tile and stone products. He discusses the company’s product development process and the importance of waterproof properties in the resilient products today.
Pam Bowe, CEO of The Bowe Company, which develops websites for flooring contractors, discusses the types of visitors most contractors seek to attract to their sites, including general contractors, architects, project managers, students, and government employees, among others. She also discusses content best suited for the websites of contractors, such as images of completed projects, the more prestigious the better, and how to use the website to begin the process of relationship building.
John McGrath, executive director of INSTALL, The International Standards and Training Alliance, discusses the floor covering industry’s installer shortage problem and suggests that what is needed is the building of trust. He says the INSTALL program works because all involved parties, manufactures and labor, believe in quality and teamwork. He says most in the industry incur problems recruiting installer candidates while the INSTALL program has a backlog because they offer a profession with fair wages, health coverage, retirement benefits and quality training.
Pam Bowe, CEO of The Bowe Company, which develops websites for flooring contractors, discusses the major categories of flooring contractors in the U.S. based on factors including the number of locations, specific market segments, and specialized services. Bowe talks about responsive design and the organizations and individuals contractors hope to attract to their websites.