Friday, March 28, 2014

Cultivating Success through the Forecasting of Kitchen & Bath Trends

We have all heard the success stories of entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses based on their ability to predict what customers will want in the future before the competition catches on to it. We recently ran a Fabricator Profile on DeSavino& Sons, which was built not only the founder's hard work but on his and his sons' ability to predict the rise of solid surface in the 1980s and the popularity of natural stone in the early 2000s.
We all know that investment firms often rely on individuals with a keen understanding of financial markets and a knack for predicting how stocks, indices and securities will move, but this extends to all other businesses as well, including countertop fabrication. There are plenty of resources put out by industry experts and researchers that can assist you in making industry predictions. 
Three resources about trends that affect countertop fabricators immediately come to mind. The first of these is the annual Industry Outlook conducted by ISFA and published in the most recent issue of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine. The 2014 Outlook examines the general economy as well as a variety of specific industries related to the countertop market and predicts a pretty solid year. It also predicts continued growth in the natural stone, quartz surfacing, cast polymer and exotic materials sectors through 2017. 

Two other resources recently became available at the start of the 2014 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) hosted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Both of these articles were developed after the NKBA analyzed the data from its Design Trends Survey.   The first of these focuses on kitchen trends from a design standpoint. Based on findings from the survey, NKBA predicts that the prevalent kitchen design in the U.S. is shifting towards the contemporary style, but it is not quite there yet. The contemporary style is forecast to be the fastest-growing design style in 2014. Consumers are looking for modern amenities, such as mobile docking stations that could be incorporated into countertops. In addition, glass seems to be growing in popularity for more than simply backsplashes. Other countertop materials that are expected to sell well in 2014 are engineered stone and recycled materials.  

The second resource from NKBA is a press release concerning bathroom trends. According to this, the contemporary style has already taken over the bathroom segment. Consumers are now looking for spa bathrooms and bathrooms that resemble something like Zen retreats with beige or bone color schemes. In addition, quartz vanity tops are highly in demand.  

While these resources can be invaluable in planning your business for the future, one important resource is available to all fabricators and installers that should never go unused: your own customers. Don't be afraid to ask your customers a few simple questions to determine what they are looking for and what they are expecting to need in the near future. In addition, you should be keeping data on all of your current sales so that you can determine the trends in your specific region and for your specific customers. This may lead to making a change in how you operate and what products you offer that could prevent your potential customers from going with your competitors. 

If you have any other ideas on how to accurately predict trends in the countertop industry, we would like to hear from you. Drop us a line at to let us know what is working for you and your business.

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