Survey Shows Dealers Bullish on Market, Buying Plans

Survey Shows Dealers Bullish on Market, Buying PlansĀ 

Consumer spending on kitchen and bath remodeling, still generally strong and resilient in the face of lingering economic and global uncertainties, should continue to hold up, and even improve, over the next 12 months.

At the same time, however, homeowners are apparently expressing an increased sensitivity to kitchen/bath remodeling prices a signal, perhaps, that consumer confidence has not risen to the same level as consumers' desire to remodel their existing home or purchase a new one.

That's the view of a sampling of kitchen/bath dealers and designers who participated in a recent survey by Kitchen & Bath Design News. The nationwide survey conducted in the second quarter of 2003 by the Cedarhurst, NY-based research firm, The Wayman Group, Inc. drew responses from nearly 250 kitchen/bath dealers and designers.

The K&BDN-Wayman Group survey revealed that dealers and designers are generally bullish about current and future market conditions. At the same time, surveyed specifiers indicate that they intend to remain active product purchasers, and have no plans to cut back on existing showroom space or kitchen/bath displays.

More than half (58%) of those surveyed indicate that the impact of current market conditions will have no impact on their product buying plans. In fact, more than one-third (34%) report they will increase their buying activity, while only 8% say they will cut back on product purchases (see Graph 2).

Nearly half of the kitchen and bath dealers and designers surveyed by K&BDN (44%) plan to add to or completely change the product lines they currently specify within the next 12 months (see Graph 3, Page 34). They plan to add or change an average of 7.0 products and/or services, covering literally the entire gamut of kitchen and bath product categories. For example, two-thirds (67%) indicate they will add or change kitchen cabinets, while over one-half have plans to add or change bathroom vanities (54%) and countertop surfacing materials (52%).

Of those respondents who have showrooms, an average of about 1,720 sq. ft. is devoted to kitchen displays, and about 540 sq. ft. is devoted to bathroom displays. One-third (33%) of the dealers and designers surveyed say they plan to expand their showroom space over the next 12 months, while only 1% report they plan to decrease their space. Two-thirds (66%) say they plan to keep their showroom the same size as now.

Of those dealers and designers who currently do not have a showroom, 12% say they plan to add one within the next 12 months.
Some 51% of the dealers/designers surveyed said that price is more important to their customers now than it was three years ago, prior to 9/11 and when the economy was in much better shape (see Graph 4, Page 34). By comparison, only 9% said price was less important now, while 40% osaid that price is just as important to customers now as it was three years ago.