December 10/17, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 14
By Megan Salzano
Modest, single-digit growth is expected for the tile and stone category in 2019, according to some of the sector’s top executives, with demand in the commercial sector poised to stimulate that growth. Large-format tile and planks have also hit their stride and remain an opportunity for the category. However, a shortage of skilled installers and higher interest rates could prove challenging moving into 2019.
What is your projection for category growth in 2019? All the indicators show a very shy growth around 3%. This is due to the rise of higher interest rates on mortgages and the housing market showing a very modest growth.
Which segments/products will fuel that growth? The commercial segment is where we can gain potential growth due to the very strict requirement for maintenance and durability. The distribution channel would be the most challenged and controversial, since the offering in this segment is higher than the demand itself.
Where do you see opportunity within the category? Challenges? I see great opportunity in the A&D market. Through our Milestone brand, which is produced in our Clarksville, Tenn. facilities, Florim USA is uniquely positioned to capitalize on increased interest within this market. [The category] is facing several challenges, including a shortage of truck drivers and installers in the U.S., competing products such as LVT and heavy competition from foreign products.
What are your biggest initiatives for 2019? Our biggest initiative is the continued launch of our new Milestone brand—the rollout and numerous unique product launches we have planned for 2019. The big achievement in 2018 was completing the EPD process. Our next challenge will be earning Greenguard certification. These initiatives are a sign of our commitment to the environment, to our employees and to our customers and end users.
Vice president of marketing
What is your projection for category growth in 2019? We expect to see single-digit growth from 2018 to 2019, and we are thrilled to be on the cutting-edge of creating design-forward products with versatile applications.
Which segments/products will fuel that growth? New home builds and commercial installations continue to create new opportunities for tile and stone. Outdoor tile is growing in popularity, as well as gauged porcelain and modern ceramic wall tile.
Where do you see opportunity within the category? Challenges? There are infinite circumstances for statement-making design: bold colors and dynamic, eye-catching textures. We are excited to bring the classics that consumers love, mixed in with several new ideas in 2019.
What are your biggest initiatives for 2019? Emser will bring more than 20 introductions to TISE and IBS in early 2019 with a bevy of aesthetics. We have also launched an online platform for our existing partners and are excited to be a part of digital platforms such as Material Bank. We also offer Emser University to our partners—a customized program that shares the latest product knowledge, manufacturing processes and selling strategies.
What is your projection for category growth in 2019?We expect to see between 4% to 6% growth in the tile category in 2019.
Which segments/products will fuel that growth? Large-format tile and planks will remain popular. We also believe the wall and outdoor products will have disproportionate growth in 2019.
Where do you see opportunity within the category? Challenges? Opportunity is endless. The biggest thing we need to do as an industry is to continue to inspire the consumer. MSI’s Augmented Reality app is a perfect tool to enable this. Visualization continues to be the consumer’s biggest hurdle, and as tile variation and sizes are increasing, tools are required to keep up with the growth rate. Finally, the continued transition from soft flooring and even hardwood to tile is an opportunity.
What are your biggest initiatives for 2019? Our goal as a company is to continue to make dream surfaces attainable. This becomes a larger challenge in an inflationary and slowing economy, but the MSI team is very well suited to do this. We will be investing heavily into new products, inspiration tools and finding ways to offset inflationary pressures.
Vice president of marketing
What is your projection for category growth in 2019? The tile market is growing. There’s increased demand across both commercial and residential sectors, and competition has grown to meet demand domestically.
Which segments/products will fuel that growth? Large-format and porcelain tile panels are fueling growth. Field tile dimensions upwards of 36-inches are popular, even residentially. Then there’s porcelain tile panels—tiles measured in feet, not inches—that are earning more specifications in commercial and residential projects. The material is so versatile, including its ability to be installed tile-over-tile, making it a great alternative for a range of surfaces.
Where do you see opportunity within the category? Challenges? The need for qualified labor to install the tile is an ongoing challenge. We will continue our expansive installer training and education programs—including industry partnerships and in-house workshops to ensure installers are trained and ready to answer demand.
What are your biggest initiatives for 2019? We’re gearing up for a busy year with product launches that exemplify the latest innovations in our industry. A primary focus for us is deepening our solutions for those who select and specify tile. For example, we just launched a new website that was designed based on extensive research in the A&D community.