Coverings 2023 energizes the masses

Home Featured Post Coverings 2023 energizes the masses

coverings 2023
Attendance at Coverings 2023 was 20% higher than the 2019 event.

Orlando, Fla.— Coverings 2023, the tile industry’s premier North American trade show, took place here last month, April 18-21, to resounding industry excitement and palpable energy across the show floor. From trending design to innovative surface solutions, high-value educational opportunities and networking events, the show resonated with attendees and exhibitors alike.

That excitement was evident in the packed aisles of the show where attendance trended higher than it had in several years. “Leading up to the event, and as recent as [Tuesday] night, we have been trending 20% ahead on attendance versus our 2019 show—our benchmark— throughout the campaign,” Jenn Heinold, president of Taffy Event Strategies, the show management company for Coverings, told Floor Covering News. “So that showed us the excitement within the marketplace: 1) for return to live events, and 2) of course, for this event in particular. We’re thrilled with the turnout.”

When the dust settled, attendance experienced a 50% year-over-year increase in 2023, totaling nearly 27,000 eventgoers.

Heinold agreed it wasn’t just about the numbers but the vibrant energy being felt throughout the show floor. “As far as the energy is concerned, I felt it during the move-in process, I certainly felt it at the show opening yesterday and it’s continuing today as well. And there’s business being done—that I can say for sure. I really like to see people in the booths experiencing the product. You can tell they’re writing business, and that’s the ultimate goal—to connect the buyer and seller.”

Exhibitors at the show agreed the event was a step above past Coverings conventions. “The previous Orlando show after the pandemic had limited attendance—people were still concerned about [meeting in person],” Patricia Acosta, corporate communications manager at MILEstone, told Floor Covering News. “But this year you feel the excitement, you see the foot traffic. I think the vibe is ‘OK, we’re back, we’re 100%.’ Las Vegas was exciting, but this is the first return to Orlando, which feels like home.”

Michael Ward, vice president of sales, Portobello America, put it simply: “Everybody’s here. The attendance is up over 2019 numbers—and 2019 was a good year. Everybody is here and everybody is excited.”

Clark Cornelius, president and COO of Florida Tile, agreed, noting: “The show was excellent. Obviously, we were able to show all the new series that we have in stock and ready to go but, most importantly, it was about developing relationships with our customers. It was a great week to spend time getting to understand their needs and how we can better support them in the near and long term.”

Tile market strengthens

coverings 2023Much like most other flooring categories, the tile industry held its breath in 2022—unsure how the market might perform amid a questionable economy. However, Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), touted the resiliency of the category, which remained strong despite hardships.

“We all know of the supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, so all things considered, we expected 2022 to be a little worse than it was,” he stated. “In fact, the market was only down 1.3% in terms of total consumption by volume—not by value—from the previous year. By value, consumption was in fact up 14.4% to the highest number in history for the ceramic tile market: $4.42 billion.”

For tile manufacturers, the year was filled with cautious optimism as they hunkered down awaiting hardship but were pleasantly surprised by the continuing momentum within the category. First quarter 2023 has also raised hopes among tile suppliers as that success trudges onward. “We were really concerned about an impending recession; very cautious in our budgeting,” said Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing at Crossville. “But we had an amazing first quarter. The mindset is always cautiously optimistic. It’ll be interesting to see what the second quarter has in store for us. It started out strong. We are moving further and further into residential, and both commercial and residential have been playing well for where we are.”

Portobello America, which will officially open its full-service, ultra-modern production facility in Baxter, Tenn., this month, has been experiencing growth in the U.S. market. “The top market in the first quarter showed some growth, especially with domestic manufacturing,” Ward explained. “I think it’s going to be a strong year. Even though the economy may not be as strong as it has been in the past, it’s still showing very strong for ceramic tile.”

Florida Tile also sees a bright future ahead. “The industry may see a few economic challenges in the coming months, but we are optimistic that we can continue to gain market share,” Cornelius said. “Combining the strength of the Panariagroup, [parent company of Florida Tile], our domestic manufacturing capabilities and our highly focused team, we believe we are in a great long-term position.”

Visual interest reigns supreme

Coverings 2023
Florida Tile’s BlueRun

What makes Coverings such a visually stunning show is the fact that tile is the only category in the industry that can represent such a broad spectrum of looks, reimagining shapes, sizes, colors and textures, that will resonate with consumers—and the 2023 show edition did not disappoint. The show was chock-full of innovative tile designs that spoke to several home design trends. What was evident in walking the show floor was that visual interest—whether that be via color, texture or decoration—is taking the reins when it comes to trending design.

Large-format tile, for example, is nothing new but the design style has experienced an upgrade. Rather than embracing traditional styles in larger sizes, suppliers at this year’s show showcased large-format deco designs—something today’s consumer is expected to embrace enthusiastically.

The new look’s success is based on the culmination of three tried-and-true trends—large format, deco and color—into one design story. Florida Tile, for example, unveiled its BlueRun line at the show. The porcelain tile line offers a large-format deco stone look available in eight styles. “Large-format deco has definitely gained momentum,” explained Doug Hayes, vice president of sales. “We’re doing it in the BlueRun collection, but we’re also trying it in other collections as well.”

Coverings 2023
MILEstone’s EcoStone

MILEstone USA also embraced the large-format deco look with the introduction of its carbon neutral EcoStone. This new travertine-look, large-format line features two distinctive surface finishes inspired by different cutting techniques.

“Large slabs are what we’re seeing really take hold in terms of trends—and for them to be U.S.-made large slabs,” said Tamica Martin, strategic marketing manager, Florim USA, parent company of MILEstone USA. “As the large formats are really gaining the attention, we’re even coming up with larger formats for decos and different textures. Typically, when decos are presented, they’re not presented in that aged porcelain format. We’re excited to be able to produce concepts like this.”

Suzi Portugal, vice president of design and sourcing, Mosaic Companies, parent company of Anthology, noted the public’s need for newness, which is helping to drive this trend. “I think people are really looking for unique. I think everybody’s tired of the same old subway tile and are really trying to make their own mark now. We’re not even doing things based on resale, we’re doing things based on putting our own stamp on it.”

Anthology unveiled its Parque Layne, a large-format, parquet-style line. “Everybody wants to have the grand look—larger and larger scales and grand patterns,” Portugal explained. “Parque Layne looks like wood and you can see how grand we’ve gotten. We’re really trying to step it up and show the largest patterns that we’ve had so people can have that amazing foyer or great room.”

Crossville’s Hide and Sleek

Crossville also embraced the large-format, textural deco concept with its new Native Metal and Hide and Sleek collections. “We went big,” Waldrep explained. “I think what people are looking for right now is visual texture. The visual texture of Native Metal is a beautiful story.”

Hide and Sleek, on the other hand, is available in a 1 x 3-foot size and features a pearlized sheen for added textural dimension. “[Its size] makes it easier for a contractor to do showers and things like that with, but it also has this really cool pearlized finish to it, which adds another layer of visual depth.”

The trending concept of visual interest doesn’t stop at large-format tile for the interior of the home, however. Several suppliers unveiled new designs at the show that were meant to represent collaboration between the indoors and outdoors and even style and design.

Portobello’s Portofino and Lighthouse

“We’re really putting a strategy together that allows us to add lines today and in the future that really talk to each other and complement each other from a color palette and an aesthetic point of view,” explained Jason Neu, marketing and outsourcing director at Portobello America. “So, if you look at our series called Portofino, it’s offered in five different colors and all the standard sizes that America needs: 12 x 24, 24 x 24, 24 x 48 and even an 8 x 8. And then you add a Lighthouse wall tile, which is a completely separate series but the color ranges work together.”

MSI also embraces that complementary style with its outdoor paver collections, which the company agrees is a major profit opportunity for dealers. “[Outdoor] has been a big growth area for us,” explained Emily Holle, creative director. “I think dealers are finally catching on that, even if you’re not comfortable with the installation piece, at least jump on board with providing the product or the design service. It’s big square footage numbers. That’s something dealers can hop on board with. It opens opportunity for them to a whole other area [of the home].”

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As seen in

April 24/May 1, 2023

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