According to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) favorable readings for billings and the six-month outlook demonstrate the interior design industry’s continued resiliency and positivity. However, future business performance (e.g., inquiries) this month may indicate a sign of a potential slowdown in the recovery path for the industry.
Business continues to grow as the billings index records its 17th consecutive month in expansion territory (i.e., above 50); however, the billings index declined for the second straight month, falling about half a point to 52.2 for November.
The three-month moving average increased slightly to 53.2, indicating positive quarter momentum for billings.
All four regions have three-month moving averages that are above 50 for the first time since July 2020 with the South (54.2) leading the way (Midwest: 52.5; Northeast: 52.5; West: 50.4).
Inquiries index experienced a steep decline, falling 8.5 points to 48.1, which is the lowest reading since the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020: 23.4).
Nevertheless, given the volatility of monthly readings, the three-month moving average is still at a healthy rate of 54.8, continuing to trend slightly higher than billings.
While the six-month outlook for interior design business continues to outpace billings and inquiries, the outlook fell for the third consecutive month to 56.0 in November, which is its lowest reading since September 2020 (54.0).
When asked about gaps in knowledge, skills, & attributes (KSAs) that exist within the current interior design workforce, communication (53 percent), problem solving (49 percent) and project management (47 percent) were the top three.
Public awareness (31 percent) was seen as the main driver for helping to increase employment for the interior design profession, almost twice as much as the second most selected option, salary & wages (19 percent).