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This comprehensive study examines the US floor coverings industry, which comprises the carpets and rugs and hard surface flooring product segments.
Carpet and rugs include tufted, woven, needlepunched, and other types, such as knotted, knitted, braided, and nonwoven products. Artificial grass is considered tufted carpeting for purposes of this report.
Hard surface flooring includes:
vinyl (including vinyl sheet, luxury vinyl tile, and vinyl composition tile
other resilient flooring (e.g., rubber flooring, linoleum, cork)
wood (engineering wood and solid wood)
laminate (saturated paper and high pressure)
decorative tile (e.g., ceramic, porcelain, natural stone)
other nonresilient flooring (e.g., seamless, polished concrete, metal/grating, bamboo, glass, leather, metal tiles)
Demand is also segmented by market:
residential – new and replacement and remodeling application for single-family, multifamily, and manufactured housing types
commercial – new and replacement and remodeling applications for office, trade, and lodging; institutional; industrial; and other commercial buildings (e.g., government buildings, athletic facilities)
transportation equipment and other nonbuilding construction:
recreational vehicles and boats
nonbuilding structures (e.g., decks, docks)
Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts to 2024 and 2029 are provided for flooring demand in both area terms (square feet) and value terms (US dollars).
Data from the US Census Department were consulted in the preparation of this study and a list of related codes is presented here for informational purposes. However, these codes may not include all products covered in this report or may exclude some products of interest and the data have thus been adjusted accordingly.
Demand by Flooring Type
Carpets and rugs, which once accounted for the larger share of flooring demand, have been eclipsed by hard surface flooring, which comprised 51% of the market in 2019. Hard surface has seen its share of the US flooring market rise due to such factors as:
a general user preference for hard surface flooring because it is seen as being more aesthetically pleasing and requiring less maintenance
the longer product lifespan of most hard surface flooring products compared to installed carpeting, which reduces long-term replacement costs
sharp growth in the use of LVT due to its ease of installation and low cost
Through 2024, hard surface flooring demand will post the more rapid gains and continue to take market share from carpets and rugs, supported by:
design trends that call for the use of hard surface flooring in rooms in which it had been infrequently installed, such as living and family rooms
continuing demand for LVT flooring, especially products that mimic the look of wood or natural stone flooring
increasing product offerings of materials that can be installed on a DIY basis, such as laminate and hardwood flooring with tongue-and-groove installation systems
Demand by Market
Flooring products are primarily installed in residential and commercial buildings, with lesser demand in transportation equipment and nonbuilding applications:
The residential market includes single-family homes, multifamily structures, and manufactured housing.
The commercial market comprises office, retail, and lodging; institutional; industrial; and other facilities.
Among the major applications in the transportation market are freight vehicles (e.g., trucks, ships, and rail cars) and fleet vehicles (e.g., taxis and police cars).
Hard surface flooring is also used to a lesser extent in light vehicles, recreational vehicles (RVs), recreational boats, and aircraft.
Since the main use of flooring is in buildings, the primary factor determining hard surface flooring demand is building construction activity, both new construction and replacement projects. Replacement and remodeling activity has the most significant influence on floor covering sales, as most hard surface flooring is installed as part of repair or renovation projects.
While many similarities exist between residential and commercial hard surface flooring, there are a handful of significant differences.
Commercial flooring is generally provided in patterns rather than solid colors, as patterns are better at hiding stains.
Commercial hard surface flooring is typically thicker and has a more durable wear layer than residential varieties.
Vehicular hard surface flooring is unlike residential and commercial products in that it meets the specifications of individual original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), rather than end users.
Flooring installed at the OEM level generally remains in place throughout the life of the vehicle, although mats may be replaced more often.
The residential market accounted for the largest share of US flooring demand in 2019 with 59%, due to the:
large number of residences (especially single-family homes) erected in any given year
large stock of existing homes, many of which have installed carpeting well past its recommended lifespan
much higher propensity of homeowners (compared to commercial building owners) to replace flooring for aesthetic as well as performance reasons
Through 2024, the residential market will continue to account for the largest share of US flooring demand, posting the most rapid growth of all markets. Gains in residential flooring demand will be supported by:
increases in single-family housing completions – the type of residence that has the most flooring per unit
continuing homeowner interest in home improvement projects (such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling) that often call for the replacement of existing flooring and the installation of new materials
Demand for flooring in the commercial market is forecast to rise at a more modest pace through 2024. Growth will be restrained by the slow recovery of commercial building construction (especially in the key office, trade, and lodging segment) in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumption of flooring in the transportation equipment and nonbuilding market will be flat in 2024. Stagnant light vehicle shipments – the segment where flooring is most often installed – will reduce opportunities going forward.
US demand for flooring is projected to advance 1.4% annually through 2024 to 24.1 billion square feet valued at $33.0 billion. Growth will be promoted by:
continuing consumer interest in home improvement projects – such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling – that frequently entail the replacement of older or worn flooring
gains in single-family housing completions – newly built residences tend to have substantial floor space, nearly all of which must be covered by flooring
heightened interest among end users in replacing flooring before its useful life has ended in order to upgrade to materials with better aesthetic or performance properties, such as luxury vinyl tile (LVT)
COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Residential & Commercial Markets Differently
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on flooring demand in 2020 varied by market:
Despite an initial decline in the residential market, flooring demand recovered later in the year as homebuilding was largely unaffected by the epidemic and homeowners – having plenty of time to consider the deficiencies of their residences – undertook a wide range of home improvement projects, including, in many cases, the replacement of flooring.
The commercial market exhibited steeper declines as many businesses canceled improvement projects among sharp drops in revenue and foot traffic.
Furthermore, the commercial flooring market will continue to be negatively affected in 2021 as changing work and consumer patterns will mean fewer office buildings, retail sites, and restaurants will need to be built.
Hard Surface Flooring to Continue to Take Market Share from Installed Carpeting
Hard surface flooring has seen its share of the US floor coverings market rise from 40% in 2009 to 51% in 2019, and it will continue to post gains in market share going forward. Users in both the residential and commercial markets will opt for hard surface flooring because of its longer lifespan, low maintenance requirements, and ability to improve indoor air quality. Furthermore, hard surface flooring is often perceived as being more aesthetically pleasing than installed carpeting, so it is frequently used to improve buildings’ appearance and value.
Residential Market to Remain Leading End Use for Flooring
The residential market accounted for the largest share of flooring demand in 2019 and will post the most rapid gains going forward. The US features a large stock of older homes, many of which have large expanses of installed carpeting. Going forward, many homeowners will opt to replace their floor coverings, frequently with hard surface flooring. Products that look like wood or natural stone will particularly benefit, as they fit modern design trends and are considered more attractive than other materials.