STATS: The numbers don’t lie
By Steven Feldman Aanother year, another statistical problem in the tin. We are publishing this report about six weeks earlier than our typical late June time frame, because we didn’t want this labor-intensive problem to linger over our heads while we went to Surfaces.
The big difference from the past few years was that when we started this project a few months ago, we really had no idea what the numbers would look like after the pandemic basically hit the second quarter. The cancellation of live events this winter and spring has prevented the anecdotal chats that typically serve as a starting point for defining the previous year from a numbers perspective. But when the dust cleared, FCNews Research has shown that the industry fared much better than most thought, less than a percentage point in dollars and volume. The greatest resistance? Commercial carpet, down more than 21%. Fortunately, that was offset by the fast-growing LVP / SPC category.
Other statistical reports will be released, and I am sure those numbers will be different. Some have stone and wall tiles; others are just unbelieving. But we’re confident that at the end of the day, FCNews framed the industry as accurately as possible in 2020. Every time we questioned some, we achieved even more within the industry. And every time our research was validated.
Four of the five main categories were relatively straightforward. For carpet, we started with CRI numbers and then consulted with top industry executives from the largest factories. For hardwoods, we first researched leading manufacturers, then took government numbers and extrapolated things like plywood, truck beds, and composite floors that are incorrectly classified as wood. (We know other reports are doing Now for resilient, which has become the most complicated category to get to grips with … My over 25 years in this industry has earned a significant amount of trust – what is confidential remains confidential. So 15 of the leading resilient suppliers shared their exact numbers with me, from residential sheet to commercial sheet to VCT to linoleum to the dreaded LVT category and all its components, especially glue, click, WPC, SPC, both for residential and commercial. was so simple But then there’s that category of “other.” Sizing can be the biggest challenge because just about everything imported is LVT and SPC. Whatever numbers we came up with here, it would be pretty much the accuracy of this entire report determine.
Here’s the thing: it’s bigger than anyone realizes or wants to acknowledge. Between Home Depot (Halstead) and Floor & Décor (CFL) you have nearly $ 700 million in purchases. (All you have to do is see how much resilience these behemoths are selling, then roll back their margin to see how much they buy.) You have the direct importers, be they large retailers or distributors. You have a few domestic OEM providers such as Nox and Lico. And then you have all the commercial companies that can do anywhere from $ 5 million to $ 40 million.
We could not have believed that resilient was up more than 20% last year. And that has decreased by 10% for residential and commercial magazines. Then I started working with the phones. To my surprise, few were surprised by our research. I didn’t believe commercial LVT would be in the black. Milliken’s Steve DeCarlo thought it was a 3% increase. We had an increase of 5%. I asked Raj Shah about overall LVT growth of over 20%, and he told me he had the same numbers. Floor & Décor rose 25% in vinyl, and that number in retail is about $ 420 million. Flooring represents $ 8.16 billion at Home Depot and was up 9.6% in 2020. You know resilient was up even more. So it makes sense.
The one metric that’s a bit blurry in terms of resilience is the mix between residential and commercial, and it’s because of multi-family homes. Some companies consider this piece part of their commercial activities, some residential, some both. The challenge is that it is a residential product that is often spotted commercially. I realized this when an expert observer told me that commercial LVT was $ 1.8 billion in 2020. We’re talking $ 1.3 billion. And then he told me he had a multifamily family of about $ 500 million. There you go then. Don’t take such a comprehensive approach.) For ceramic tiles, we looked at the numbers from the Tile Council of North America, statistics from the major importers such as Italy and Spain, and then contacted the largest ceramic suppliers for their input . For laminate, we consulted well-respected and trusted organizations, such as the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA), which oversees domestic supply, and supplemented data with research from the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF), which relates on imported laminate floors. We have further tweaked the raw data provided by those associations to avoid duplication from OEM suppliers.