Final Coat: Optimism and Opportunity

After two years of mostly connecting virtually, the NWFA team and I have been busy representing the wood flooring industry at in-person events for the past few weeks. As I write this, I am fresh off attending The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, Florida. In-person meetings are back, and it was energizing to see the bustle around the trade show floors. I am even more looking forward to our upcoming NWFA Wood Flooring Expo in Tampa, Florida, April 12-14.

I have to say, I am now more optimistic than I have been in a long time. In my meetings throughout TISE and IBS, I repeatedly heard that business is good. There were many innovations in wood flooring products, with the trend of longer and wider boards continuing to be showcased by manufacturers, and the popularity of white oak holding strong. What was on display at these shows rings true to what NWFA members stated in Hardwood Floors magazine’s 2022 Industry Outlook. Nearly 80 percent of respondents to the survey expect sales to either be up somewhat or up significantly this year. Survey results also reflected demand for wider and longer and white oak to increase.

The robust renovation market of the last two years has been well-documented. A study conducted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University reported in an October 2021 study that remodeling is expected to remain strong, estimating year-over-year gains in annual improvement and repair spending will reach nine percent in the fourth quarter of 2021 and will continue to maintain that pace into 2022. The NAHB/Royal Building Products Remodeling Market Index (RMI) showed continued year-over-year improvement in remodelers’ sentiment, with index levels at well above the break-even point of 50.

Join us at NWFA Expo in Tampa
April 12-14, 2022
nwfaexpo.org

It is not only in the United States, though. The European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) estimates European consumption of parquet increased 5.8 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. The FEP reports all of their member states are now back or even beyond consumption levels of 2019, with growing demand. (Read more about the European market’s performance on page 24.)

Tuesday, April 12, 1:00-3:30 p.m.:
Succession Planning and Combatting New Tax Proposals: Assuring Your Company Remains Successful

Supply issues, tariffs on products from China, and increasing transportation rates have all made the gap between the cost of wood-look products and real hardwood much smaller. The price of wood-look products is higher than before the pandemic. When a homeowner can buy real wood floors for only slightly more instead of double the cost, it is a no-brainer to go with real wood since it is the only flooring that can increase a home’s value 10 percent or more. There has never been a better time to grow market share for real wood flooring.

Despite all of the good news, there is no escaping the impact of ongoing supply chain issues and labor shortages. You are not alone in facing these problems. The NWFA wants to help you navigate these issues with input from experts throughout the NWFA Wood Flooring Expo.

As you may have read earlier in the magazine, our keynote speaker is Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., the Bowtie Economist. Eisenberg will provide insights on the economy, labor and supply chain issues, inflation, advice on reducing risk, staying ahead of the financial curve, and more. Additionally, Dr. Brian Beakler will lead a discussion about how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the wood flooring industry. By understanding the market around us, the industry can better understand the opportunity that lies ahead for continuing to make real wood flooring the flooring of choice. Another topic that’s being talked about a lot at the shows this year is acquisitions and mergers. If you’re thinking about your options, NWFA has added a “Succession Planning and Combatting New Tax Proposals” workshop on Tuesday, April 12, from 1:00-3:30 p.m.

Set sail with NWFA on a new adventure in Tampa. Make your plans to join us today: nwfaexpo.org.

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