The high-end, luxury market has thrived over the last several years despite a general malaise around economic uncertainty. Industry experts agree that while economic conditions can tighten the purse strings of the average consumer, those shopping for opulence tend to continue spending even during these times. Therein lies the opportunity for savvy flooring dealers to grab their fair share of those high-end dollars—and material selection will play a crucial role in their success.
The ceramic, stone and porcelain tile category remains one of only two truly aspirational product categories within the industry, meeting the needs of the high-end market in several ways. Its inherent opulence, variety, durability and customization is renown and unmatched, making it the perfect material for shrewd dealers to turn to.
“In the competitive world of flooring, capturing a share of the luxury high-end market requires a strategic approach and a deep understanding of customer preferences,” explained said Jason Neu, sourcing and marketing, Portobello America. “As the demand for luxurious tile options continues to rise in the United States, flooring dealers have a golden opportunity to tap into this lucrative market.”
Flooring dealers can also benefit from the high-end luxury tile market via diversification, which has become a boon to many flooring dealers across the country. “By providing a high-end tile solution our dealers can increase their reach to other selling segments that they might be missing out on now,” explained Sean Cilano, product and marketing director at Virginia Tile.
In an effort to better understand what it is tile truly brings to the table—and how the category speaks directly to today’s luxury buyer—it’s important for flooring dealers to understand the ways in which tile shines in this market.
“Tile is an aspirational product that adds value to a home, and it is also the best product for highly used wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, so consumers are very open to putting a high-end product in these areas,” explained Patrick Warren, vice president of residential sales, dealer & showrooms, Dal-Tile. “In addition, today’s consumers want materials that fit their lifestyle as far as durability, enhanced performance features and low maintenance—tile fits perfectly into that desire. Technology has transformed tile from just a utilitarian building product to an actual design element in a space and consumers/homeowners are responding positively by buying higher-end tile products.”
Customization and exclusivity are also key features tile offers the high-end customer. “Customization options are highly valued in the high-end market,” Paulo Pereira, vice president, national product, MSI, told Floor Covering News. “Tile can be tailored to specific design requirements, allowing customers to create unique and exclusive spaces. Custom patterns, mosaics or even personalized designs can be crafted using tile, providing a sense of luxury and individuality.”
Virginia Tile’s Cilano agreed, noting, “Tile screams custom, one-of-a-kind and craftsmanship, especially with today’s products produced to mimic an artisan handcrafting them. It is the jewelry of the interior space, bringing to life more muted colors and widely used visuals and formats.”
Tile is also one of very few product categories that can offer all those benefits plus the versatility the luxury market demands. “In ultra-luxury design, maintaining visual continuity and flow is paramount,” Portobello America’s Neu said. “Porcelain tile allows for seamless transitions between different spaces, creating a harmonious and unified environment. With a wide array of complementary tiles available, designers can effortlessly carry themes and motifs throughout various areas, ensuring a cohesive and visually stunning result.”
What’s more, tile’s renown longevity remains one of its most notable features—with no equal in the industry. “Just as statues carved out of Italian carrera marble have withstood the test of time, tile has the potential to create beautiful and enduring spaces,” said Shannon Eisele, VP of client experience and product development at Louisville Tile. “Whether it’s natural stone, exquisite marbles or artistic porcelain, the options available are a testament to the timeless allure of tile. Tile embodies the investment of luxury and time, and its longevity becomes a luxury in and of itself.”
For flooring dealers to successfully sell tile to their high-end, luxury clientele it’s important to point to these features and more. “By emphasizing the overall strong value of the tile desired, the dealer is able to better satisfy their customer by selling them a product they will be happy with for years to come,” Dal-Tile’s Warren said. “Not only does this result in the immediate sale, but it also helps ensure repeat business and referral business in the future.”
To see the latest opulent tile options offered by today’s top tile suppliers, see our feature here.