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Insights From The Home Improvement Research Institute

We at the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) are routinely asked, “Where is the home improvement market headed?” The answer to this question has always been, “Well, it depends on which segment or category of the industry.” This question has become even more common over the last couple of years thanks to the chaos a global epidemic brought us. The flooring market is a great example of this point, showing that not all product categories act similarly and in unison with one another.

Based on recent estimates, there will be a drop in floor sales for renovation and remodels compared to the year of 2021. This is one of the only categories we see dipping in 2022, alongside kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It’s important to mention the spend is going to drop on flooring products in 2022, but this is following a year that saw nearly 24% year-over-year growth over 2020. The total spend on flooring products from 2020 through 2022 would equate to a 3% annual growth rate with an $8.4 billion bonus in 2021.

The Nature of the Product

Inflation stemming from material shortages, high demand and shipping delays continually act as headwinds on the sale of flooring products. Other product categories face the same issues, so what makes flooring different? Most of the differences can be explained by the nature of most flooring products. Flooring is a durable, long-lasting product that has a much longer usable life than other product categories, and as such, the lifecycle to replace flooring is longer than most other aspects of a home. The massive influx of renovation spend on flooring in 2021 caused a pull-forward effect on many flooring projects; the influx was potential future-year spend that was pulled into 2021.

Compounding on the longer lifecycle is the way in which flooring is installed. Pro installation is much more prevalent in this category than in others. Our data shows that lockdowns and general health concerns had a significant impact on limiting pro activity across most trades throughout much of 2020. As work began to resume, the high demand quickly saturated the skilled tradesman workforce leading to backlogs that many are still working through. To that end, while the total flooring sales are expected to decrease, purchases made by professionals are expected to increase in 2022 and on into 2023.

Dipping in the Short Term, Growing in the Long Term

Looking beyond this year, we see 2022 as a blip in the market for flooring or a slight correction to more historical growth patterns following a year of immense growth. As to how that will affect the long-term product lifecycle, time will tell as it is dependent on which products were installed, where they were installed and the quality of the installation.

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