According to “Hard Surface Flooring,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., demand for hard surface flooring products in the U.S. is forecast to increase 4.6% annually from a weak 2008 base to 9.6 billion square feet in 2013, valued at $12 billion. Growth will show renewed strength, mostly due to an expected recovery in the economy in general, and in new housing construction in particular.
Hard surface flooring is expected to gain market share from carpeting, an ongoing trend for the past decade. Demand will be driven by the growing consumer preference for high-end products such as wood, laminates and ceramic tile, as well as increasing interest in natural and environmentally responsible products such as natural stone, engineered wood, linoleum, cork and bamboo. Vinyl will continue to account for a declining share of total hard surface flooring demand, but will remain a major flooring product.
The greatest growth opportunities through 2013 will continue to be in laminate flooring. However, gains will begin to decelerate relative to the 1998-2008 growth rate, as laminate’s market penetration approaches its upper limits. Above-average gains will also be posted by wood flooring, particularly engineered wood flooring. Prospects for ceramic tile flooring will match overall growth, while demand for vinyl flooring will lag overall gains. New products, such as bamboo, cork and eucalyptus flooring, as well as other materials that can present a favorable environmental profile, will continue to enjoy particularly good growth prospects, although they will remain relatively small niche products.
The cost of hard surface flooring products is expected to continue to increase through 2013. Price hikes are expected to accelerate for laminate flooring, reflecting reduced imports of lower-priced products. In the case of vinyl flooring, however, costs for crude oil (an important raw material in vinyl flooring production) are anticipated to soften from the high levels of 2008, which will alleviate pressure on manufacturers to raise prices. Value gains will be supported by trends toward luxury flooring products like exotic woods.
Additional details are available at www.freedoniagroup.com