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Holiday Reading: Flooring Data,Trends and Consumer Behavior

Susan NegleyFor those of you looking for some good flooring industry statistics and trends to curl up with by the holiday fire - and who wouldn't be? - here are a few of the latest options, plus some great reading on retail and consumer trends, and your core customer - women.

First, an update - Catalina's 2009 Report on Wood Flooring is now ready for release. Stuart Hirshhorn gave us a sneak peek into a couple of those wood statistics in his latest post "Better Picture of Wood Flooring Imports Results from HTS Changes", published here December 10th. At the time that post was published his latest research on wood flooring was not complete but it's ready now. Stuart says the 2009 wood report concludes that wood flooring sales are expected to recover in 2010 with gains primarily coming in the second half of the year led by the upturn in residential remodeling and replacements. In contrast, the nonresidential market is expected to continue to decline over the next year.

Catalina's latest quarterly update which includes the 2010 forecast will be ready in a week or so and Stuart's next post on the Floor Covering Institute blog site in early January will be based on that research.

Floor FFloor Focus Dec 2009ocus's December issue contains 2009: The Year in Review - a must read. If you haven't already read the review of the commercial market published in the June issue of Floor Focus Magazine you should pull it out of your "saving to read pile" or you can read it on line. (I know, I know, but sometimes we just don't have time to read everything; that's why I'm pointing it out now). Their review is clear, concise and covers a lot of territory including a good discussion of the health care segment and why it's changing.

For a sobering look at why the commercial market will have trouble recovering, and may have even darker days ahead, go back and read Jim Gould's blog post on this site published November 19, 2009, The Commercial Floor Covering Forecast - Another Storm is Brewing.

If you National Floor Trends Nov 2009are interested in reading about your core consumer - women - then check out the National Floor Trend's November issue and read "WFCA Consumer Study: Understanding the Female Floor Consumer."

Don't forget about our resident expert on the female consumer, Christine Whittemore, who is a noted author, lecturer and instructor on this topic. Her blog site, Flooring the Consumer, contains some great insight, in particular check out a recent post, Women Centric Retailing.
Floor Covering Weekly Dec 14 2009
Floor Covering Weekly's state of the industry issue was published last week. They report that according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 2009 floor covering sales are projected to be $16.8 billion. They were $21.6 billion in 2007. When things contract this much we have to look outside of our industry at a bigger picture that includes consumer trends - not just in the floor covering industry - but in consumers are shopping, where they are shopping and what they are thinking.

That's why I recommend you put Retailing 2015: New Frontiers (Price Waterhouse Coopers and TNS Retail Forward) on your reading list. While this overview is two years old, it is relevant, not so long you'll fall asleep while reading it, and it will help you to think more broadly about what retailing in the future will look like and why changes to the conventional approach to retail have to take place. Changing demographics, stronger focus on lifestyles, and the recession -these are just a few factors affecting how consumers will shop. Some of these changes might be a bit surprising. Here are just a few things they suggest will happen:

  • The 80/20 rule will be broken; the "best selling" 20% will represent a decreasing share of sales.
  • Retailers will define themselves by the customers they serve rather than the products they sell.
  • Penetration of private brands and manufacturer exclusives will explode across virtually all categories as retailers require differentiation. Jim Gould wrote about the importance of differentiation in his post Branding to Create Profit Opportunity.
  • The Y generation will represent a challenge to traditional retailing as they are more likely to be multi-channel shoppers. Stuart Hirschhorn addressed this issue in his recent post Floor Covering Trends Target Generation Y.
  • For growth retailers will need to seek new opportunities in new consumer segments and new categories - perhaps expanding beyond flooring to include other products that compliment flooring. A good example of that is StarNet's new maintenance program that Jim Gould talks about on Talk Floor; you can listen here.
  • To satisfy customer needs, retailers will need to incorporate services and experience into their concepts. Christine Whittemore will be the first to point out the importance of the "shopping experience." Check out her post: Floor Retailers....Evolving Your Digital Retail Experience as well as her blog site Flooring the Consumer where the importance of creating a positive retail experience is a core topic.

Also on your reading list should be Floor Covering News' The Floor Covering News MastheadGreen Guide edition November 9/16 2009. This is a supplement to and separate publication from Floor Covering News magazine. You might also like reading their article, Carpet State of the Industry - Five Year History.

There is more to recommend but this ought to keep you statisfied between now and the new year! We are always on the lookout for a good read and I would be happy to receive your recommendations.

Thank you for reading here....



  1. It is good to see that remodeling is slated for a come back. I am seeing this in our store also..Thank goodness!

    Troy Aeby
    Duralum Carpets Inc.


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