Study: New flooring among most popular consumer projects

HomeNewsStudy: New flooring among most popular consumer projects

ATLANTA—Nearly 80% of homeowners are considering a home improvement project this year, and 33% of those will install new flooring, according to a research study from home advice site, kudzu.com.

Installing new flooring is one of the most popular home-related projects according to the study, with only painting (49%), landscaping (38%), refurnishing (35%) and lawn care (33%) scoring the same or higher.

“Floors are one of the first things someone notices when they walk into a home,” said Rhonda Hills, kudzu.com vice president and chief marketing officer. “Good flooring improves the look of a room and can also increase the value of the home.”

Kudzu.com’s study shows 50% of all homeowners planning to install new flooring are undecided on the brands they will consider. Brands receiving the most consideration are Armstrong (24%), Lumber Liquidators (21%), Stainmaster (19%), Mohawk (15%), Bruce (10%) and Shaw (14%).

“The flooring option a homeowner will choose is very much up in the air,” Hills said. “Half of all homeowners have no idea which brands they will even consider. This isn’t all bad news, though. Product manufacturers and flooring professionals should look at this as an opportunity to market directly to homeowners and establish their products as the brand of choice.” (Editor’s note: For more on the power of brand, see related story.)

The survey found that among the respondents who are planning a flooring project, 40% plan to spend at least $5 per square foot for their flooring needs. “It’s interesting to note that consumers consistently underestimated how much projects cost in every category we surveyed. This underscores why we feel consumer education about costs, material options and brand/product differences is so important, and it’s an area we work hard to emphasize with ongoing content we develop for our site.”

Because the study’s intent was to identify projects and brand preferences, it did not ask about specific plans for square footage, rooms or other measurables, Hills explained.

“We did not ask about flooring preferences with this particular survey, but our site’s user behavior indicates carpet is the most popular, followed by wood and laminate. Year-to-date searches for carpet-related topics are more than five times greater than wood-related searches, and our wood searches are 20 times greater than laminate searches.” The study also did not identify the source of the planned flooring-related purchase.

Kudzu.com did not use qualitative measures to identify consumer responses in this study, Hills said. “We believe consumers were largely undecided in the flooring category because flooring providers have not adequately solidified the value of their brand in the mind of the consumer. This is particularly clear in instances where respondents easily confused flooring brands with flooring distributors. For instance, Lumber Liquidators (a distributor) ranked second in our ‘brand’ consideration set, fol- lowing Armstrong (a true flooring brand) and beating Stainmaster (another flooring brand).

“Because of the confusion among consumers,” Hills concluded, “flooring brands stand to realize significant gains if they can develop a stronger direct-to- consumer approach that highlights the value of the brand and differentiates their products from their competitors.”

The homeowner’s study was conducted between Feb. 10 and Feb. 18 and included nearly 3,500 respondents.

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