A Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence study says kitchen designers have been significantly impacted by the economic downturn (no surprise) but there are some positive signs.
Dec. 3 through Dec. 5, 2008, RICKI conducted the study of 19 certified kitchen designers across the United States. Brenda Bryan, RICKI executive director said it’s not a quantitative survey that mirrors the industry as a whole, “but does represent what a diverse group of professional designers…are hearing from consumers.”
Around two-thirds of the designers say the economic slowdown hurt the number of their kitchen projects – and some were impacted “dramatically.”
Still – only 2/3rds?
Some designers are getting new business, the report said. These designers’ clients are proceeding more cautiously than a year ago and adjusting their decision-making to reflect the bum economy. How?
- By compromising on the scope of the project.
- By compromising on design and settling for lower-end products and materials.
- Staying within the kitchen’s original footprint and planning around existing barriers to keep the project cost down.
Designers say clients are:
- “being very careful about every dollar spent ”
- “doing more research and legwork” on their own
- “considering less expensive items in order to still do the project”
Economy Hurting Demand for Green Products?
Some designers see a downturn in demand for environmentally friendly products corresponding to the economic downturn. Demand for green products had been increasing prior to the economic slowdown.
Clients are also worried about the long-term viability of the companies that supply their kitchen remodel.
Designers say clients are also voicing concern about the prospective long-term stability of suppliers. “Some decisions are based on warranty issues and service after the sale,” one designer said in the study. “If a company goes under you lose that.”
Some designers see positive signs emerging.
One designer said, “For the first seven months of 2008 we had very few customers. Since the middle of August though, we’ve been nearly as busy as we were during the boom.”
Designers point to several reasons for optimism:
- Most homeowners don’t plan to sell soon and more people are considering remodeling instead.
- Designers in some regions of the country haven’t seen the economy hit their business much (central Texas) – or it is picking up again already (Washington DC saw leads pick up after the election).
- Suppliers and contractors are willing to negotiate to get the job.