The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) says it’s not all doom and gloom in the remodeling segment.
“The kitchen and bath business in some parts of the country is actually up,” said NKBA President Suzie Williford last week. “Yes, business is down in many parts of the country, but predictions about the sky falling are inaccurate and premature at best.”
NKBA runs the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, which this year is scheduled for April 30-May 3, 2009 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. A February report from NKBA said the show had seen some companies pull out but was not suffering from a major drop in exhibitors. As of March 16, major appliance OEMs still on the exhibitor list include Dacor, GE, LG, Miele, Peerless-Premier, Viking, Whirlpool, and several others.
Looking at the U.S. as a whole, there can be little doubt that the remodeling market was hurting in the final quarter of 2008, when the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) sank to 27.7, from 33.5 in the previous quarter.
By the time KBIS 2009 rolls around, the RMI and other remodeling indexes for the first quarter of 2009 will have become public. That report, along with the state in the fragile day-to-day fluctuations in consumer confidence, will help set the tone at KBIS.
Compact Appliances and Other Trends
NKBA says kitchen and bath trends are influenced by the economic downturn and by the aging baby boomer demographic.
Both of those dynamics lead to smaller living quarters. NKBA predicts many exhibitors will show luxury products that are made smaller and more compact to fit in smaller houses and apartments.
Another remodeling trend is elderly friendly designs. “Consumers want their investment to still address their living needs ten years from now,” says Williford.
Other kitchen and bath appliance manufacturers have noticed a switch in consumer tastes from traditional moldings and designs to more contemporary designs.