Sabine Mané, marketing and e-commerce manager at International Decorative Surfaces, is upbeat about the prospects for the KBB industry in 2021 and beyond, but believes that a shortage of skilled tradespeople and supply chain disruptions could hold back recovery
Q: Where do you think the industry will go over the next 12/24 months?
A: The KBB industry will bounce back with vigour as a positive response to practically full year of suppression.
Q: What do you think will be the main challenges going forward?
A: The main problem will be, as it has been throughout lockdown, to find decent tradespeople, as there will be so much demand for them and lead times will be a massive challenge. Following our departure from the EU, I foresee that adjusting to the new way of working will inevitably create problems in the supply chain.
Q: What is your advice for retailers to make sure they thrive in the coming year?
A: Our advice is, to excel in customer service, creating a welcoming, informative and helpful environment for the customer.
Give customers an exciting, vibrant and pleasurable experience with plenty of choice, presented through beautiful displays and backed up with information. Retailers may need to be flexible with trading hours and always offer a personalised design-led service that cannot be matched online – post pandemic people will be craving that human advice and interaction.
Q: How would you rate your confidence in business over the year ahead out of 10 and why?
A: It’s 6 or 7 for me. For sure, it will be a hard year, as consumer confidence has taken a knock, as shown by very recent events on the high street. The Government’s handling of the pandemic has not helped small independent business, which are already feeling the pain. Even larger businesses have had to right-size, cutting back in areas of excess, but as they reset, I am not sure they will be able to cope with the increase in demand. At IDS, we are expecting to grow, but not to 2019 levels, as it will take years for the economy to recover.
Q: What do you think will be the main areas for growth or decline in the next 12 months product-wise?
A: The growth in wall panelling applications, both inside and outside of bathrooms, will continue to soar and will now be considered in the mix with more traditional wall coverings.
A number of our branded worktop manufacturers have taken the opportunity to invest in launching product to meet all budgets, which makes for an exciting time with lots of potential.
Undoubtedly, the sophistication of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring will continue to strengthen and take away market share from traditional laminate and tile products.
• For more comment and anlysis on what’s in store for the KBB market in 2021, see our Focus feature in the January issue