Fingers crossedWhile most kitchen and bath professionals across America were keeping their fingers crossed for a big pick up in kitchen sales last year, many felt disappointed by the lack of instant recovery. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) released surveys in October showing that 2010 fared better than 2009 in terms of sales and showroom visitors. However most dealers felt that each quarter offered unpredictable numbers.

Optimistic kitchen and bath

Image Credit: Source: NKBA Kitchen & Bath Market Index Report, October 2010

Despite any clear sign of the industry going back to “normal”, there is an overlying sense of optimism amongst those who still open for business as 2011 kicks off. According to Julian McKinney of Wilmington Kitchens Design Studio in Wilmington, NC, “We’re getting a lot of remodels because people don’t want to move. They feel very comfortable living in their existing neighborhoods and upgrading because, when the market does come back, they’re going to have a greater product to offer.”

Many believe that the path toward bouncing back in 2011 lies in flexibility. Dealers and designers that cater more toward full scale remodeling should be willing to take on smaller projects. Businesses that focus more on construction projects should consider offering remodeling options to consumers if their regional home building market is slow. Understanding what the voids are in your local market and being willing to accommodate them even if they are outside your current business model is going to be crucial for your success this year.

When you do find the area of your business that’s worth expanding, don’t forget to focus some energy on stepping up your marketing and rethinking your kitchen and bath sales process. After all, if people don’t know that you’re willing and able to remodel their powder room through your website or showroom materials they’re going to look at getting it done through one of your competitors who does.

What market segment do you think will bring the biggest growth for kitchen and bath jobs in 2011? Is your dealership prepared to change gears for it? Let us know in the comments!


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