World Flooring: Domotex 2013 - February 2013

 

By Kemp Harr

 

Even though attendance at Domotex was down this year, it continues to hold its status as the world’s largest floorcovering show, and there was plenty to see at this year’s event in Hannover, Germany. 

>First and foremost was the BAU show—a building materials expo that is held every other year in Munich. And since flooring is obviously a building material, several major exhibitors and attendees opt to support this show, which draws over 235,000 people. Given that these shows overlap every other year, if you compare Domotex’s attendance this year (roughly 40,000) with 2011, it was actually up slightly. (Domotex’s attendance for 2012 was closer to 45,000.) A second deterrent to attendance is the European economy, which is flat at best and is facing some strong economic headwinds. A third factor is Domotex’s decision to hold smaller trade shows in China, Russia and the Middle East, thereby reducing the need for suppliers and attendees to come all the way to the original show in Germany.

One of the unique characteristics of this German edition of the Domotex series of trade shows is its international flair and overall size. This event draws over 1,300 exhibitors from 60 nations and is staged in 12 massive buildings. About half the attendees come from Europe, 21% from Asia and 11% from the Americas. This year, the amount of space rented by U.S. companies increased 54% to over 22,000 square feet. In addition to the two U.S. pavilions sponsored by the American Floorcovering Alliance (AFA) and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), several U.S. based suppliers had a substantial presence. Mohawk, for example, had three different exhibits: one focused on rugs, one on carpet and one on laminate. Beaulieu of America, Dixie (Masland), Mannington Commercial, Swiff-Train (Earthwerks) and Styron also had large exhibits. While much of this show is focused on selling finished floorcovering to wholesalers, distributors and retailers, there are also a large number of equipment manufacturers and component suppliers. One anomaly, however, was Lumber Liquidators presence. Lumber Liquidators came to Domotex this year for the first time to sell Bellawood on a wholesale basis to other retailers around the world. 

As most industry veterans know, styling tastes for floorcovering vary widely from country to country, and this fragmentation not only affects the look and feel but also the construction. Even in Europe, the coloring and construction of carpet, for example, varies widely from Germany to France and over to the United Kingdom. As a result, it’s often been said that there is no such thing as a European market, since each country demands its own color line, face weights and mix of components. In the U.K., for example, the majority of the carpet sold is polypropylene, whereas the rest of Europe is about 80% polyamide (their name for nylon), and in Germany, it’s almost all polyamide. And while you do find polyester rugs, there is virtually no polyester used in broadloom carpet. In addition, most broadloom carpet is produced in a four meter width, and almost a quarter of what is sold is five meters wide. In comparison, here in the U.S. our widest width, 15 feet, equates to 3.66 meters. Much of the carpet produced in Europe comes from Belgium, but thanks to fragmentation of the market and the lack of economic growth, most of the carpet mills are struggling to turn a profit. In the last ten years, the size of the European carpet market has declined 25%. 

The reason that the Belgium manufacturers have not ventured into the polyester carpet fiber arena is subject to debate; some say that lack of profit and the shrinking market size is a deterrent to new extrusion investment, while others say that Europe simply doesn’t like shiny, soft carpet.

In the hard surface area, Domotex has specific buildings assigned to the hardwood (they call it parquet) and resilient categories. But thanks to the strength of the Cersaie show held every year in Bologna, Italy and also due to the fact that ceramic tile is mostly sold through different channels of distribution in Europe, there is very little space devoted to tile or stone. 

While there are some definite hard surface styling differences between what you see here in the U.S. and Europe, the differences aren’t as far apart as what you see with carpet. And similar to what we’re seeing here in the U.S., LVT is taking market share from laminate. But the laminate category—which started in Europe—is much further entrenched, and it’s fighting back with some striking new visuals. As the rustic look continues to thrive, some producers have perfected the scalloped edge and weathered gaps that prior to now were impossible to emulate.



THE WORLD MARKET FOR TRIEXTA

Triexta, Sorona, Smartstrand or Silk: no matter what brand is ued, it is essentially the same polymer. Mohawk has an exclusive arrangement with DuPont to use that polymer in the U.S. residential market. However, DuPont is free to sell the fiber in the U.S. commercial market as well as abroad (both commercially and residentially).

Balta, which holds a 16% share of the European tufted carpet market, is now offering triexta-based carpet in that market. Mohawk is also selling Smartstrand carpet into the residential European market and, to get the styling right and reduce freight costs, Mohawk has set up a contract manufacturing arrangement with Lano—a family owned carpet producer based in Belgium.


Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 

 



Other Archived Articles

Armstrong Develops Web-Based Tool for Retailers   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Feb. 18, 2015 -- Armstrong Floor Products has rolled out what it calls an Advertising & Promotion Center.

Distributor Haines Names Two Vice Presidents   Full Article
Glen Burnie, MD, Feb. 18, 2015 -– Distributor Haines has named Mike Barrett vice president of operations and Bill Rothenbach vice president of human resources.

Producer Prices Tumble on Lower Energy Costs   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 18, 2015 -- Producer prices declined 0.8% in January largely due to falling energy prices, according to the Labor Department.

Housing Starts, Permits Dip in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 18, 2015 -- Residential construction starts declined 2% in January to an annual rate of 1.07 million units, according to the Commerce Department.

Dixie Group Reports Loss on Higher Sales   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, Feb. 18, 2015 -- The Dixie Group, Inc. reported a fourth quarter net loss of $5.2 million, compared to a profit of $1.59 million a year ago.

Mortgage Applications Decline on Higher Rates   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 18, 2015 -- Mortgage application volume plunged last week as interest rose to their highest level this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Fuse Alliance Adds Two Members   Full Article
Laguna Niguel, CA, Feb. 18, 2015 -- Fuse Alliance said it has added two new dealer partners in the U.S.

Architecture Billings Contract Slightly in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 18, 2015 -- Following a nine-month stretch of positive billings, the Architecture Billings Index showed no increase in design activity in January.

Heavy Snow Dampens Builder Confidence   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 17, 2015 -- Homebuilder confidence fell slightly in February due largely to heavy snow in much of the country, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

New York Manufacturing Expansion Slows   Full Article
New York, NY, Feb. 17, 2015 -- The New York Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index showed that conditions improved at slower rate in February.

NWFA Offers Discounts Through CCA Global Division   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, Feb. 17, 2015 -- The National Wood Flooring Association has announced its new Business Marketplace program, in partnership with BizUnite, to provide members discounts in many business operations.

Surfaces Exhibitors Donate Flooring from Show   Full Article
Las Vegas, NV, Feb. 17, 2015 -- Exhibitors at Surfaces last month committed to donating 140,765 pounds of used flooring to the Mountain Re-Source Center.

Floors and More Wins Chamber Award   Full Article
Benton, AR, Feb. 16, 2015 -- Floors and More recently won a 2014 Small Business Award from the Bryant chamber of commerce.

Patent Board Rules for Tandus in Dispute with Interface   Full Article
New York, NY, Feb. 16, 2015 -- The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has ruled in favor of Tandus Flooring in a dispute with Interface regarding a patent on an installation system, according to Law 360.

IICRC Moves Headquarters to Las Vegas   Full Article
Las Vegas, NV, Feb. 16, 2015 -- The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification said it is moving its headquarters to its Global Resource Center in Las Vegas.

Kährs Acquires Minority Stake in Pozgaj Flooring   Full Article
Stockholm, Sweden, Feb. 16, 2015 -- Wood and resilient maker Kährs Group said it has acquired a minority stake in recently formed Croatian Pozgaj Flooring.

Consumer Sentiment Falls from January Peak   Full Article
Ann Arbor, MI, Feb. 13, 2015 -- Consumer sentiment declined in February after reaching an 11-year high in January, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index.

Mohawk Group Sponsors HPD Collaborative   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, Feb. 13, 2015 -- Mohawk Group said it has become part of a growing list of “Visionary” sponsors of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative.

Earthwerks Signs Distributor Longust   Full Article
Houston, TX, Feb. 13, 2015 -- EarthWerks said it has signed a distribution agreement with Longust Distributing, Inc. to cover the southwestern U.S.

NAHB Analyzes Data on Boomerang Millennials   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 13, 2015 -- A recent study of “Boomerang Millennials” may have important implications for this key demographic and what it means for the housing market, according to the National Association of Home Builders.