Written by Sarah Fields, CEO
1. Industry Optimism
2. Freestanding Tubs Dominate Showrooms
3. Color is Trending
4. Luxury is the Focal Point
Like many of you who also attended, I am finishing out February with this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) fresh on my mind. Throughout the three days there, I spent a lot of time immersed in meetings and walking the floor – and I came home with four takeaways front and center in my thoughts for the coming year. I’ll share more on those below, but above all else I have to say I was excited to be back at the show and connect with many of the people in our fantastic community.
The first and most promising thing I noticed was present market conditions have not tempered the positive energy and optimism for the industry. While many of us are experiencing a slower pace of business presently, just about everyone I chatted with was positive about the long-term outlook. Even without a clear vision of how the industry will respond to continued economic challenges, the consensus seemed to be that the second half of 2023 will be better than the first. As many builders have been able to finally able to sell off their excess inventory, they are starting to pull permits and show signs of life. Build-to-rent strategies are emerging in some cities. Multifamily projects, even while sometimes delayed or slowed, are still moving forward, and builders are finding creative ways to lower costs and keep homes affordable for the first-time home buyer.
Second, showroom sales seem to be doing well. Custom homebuilding and remodeling have not been impacted by economic changes to the extent higher volume building projects have. Among this customer group, freestanding tubs are still dominating. This gave us the opportunity to chat about the new freestanding tub models we’ll be introducing in a few months. We are super excited about the new freestanding product initiative at Jetta and can’t wait to share more.
A third and interesting observation: eye-catching, attention-getting colors in baths, sinks, shower bases and toilets, on full display throughout the show, seem to be having a moment. When pressed on the popularity of them, vendors told us most consumers are expected to stick to safer, more neutral choices, but the colors do appeal to that niche customer looking to make a statement. We see the trend play out in our own Edmond and Tulsa, Oklahoma showrooms with the DadoQuartz line and the niche customer appeal.
Lastly, solid-surface and stone tubs were the focus for the bathtub brands on display, providing a great market research opportunity for us as we build out our strategy for a new product line in 2024.
Did you attend KBIS this year? I would love to hear what you came home excited about. Drop me a note here.