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

Job Openings Edge Down in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 13, 2014 -- There were 4.7 million job openings on the last business day of September, according to the Labor Department.

NWFA Approves Vermeister Finish Products   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, Nov. 13, 2014 -- The National Wood Flooring Association said that Vermeister S.p.A. has been approved for the NWFA Accepted Product Seal and NWFA Accepted Eco Product Seal designations.

Dixie Discontinuing Carousel Custom Line   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, Nov. 13, 2014 -- The Dixie Group said it will discontinue its Carousel custom manufacturing line.

CRI Outlines 2015 Initiatives at Annual Meeting   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Nov. 13, 2014 -- The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) held its annual meeting in Dalton, Ga. yesterday.

Initial Jobless Claims Remain Below 300K   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 13, 2014 -- Initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 290,000 in the week ended Nov. 8, according to the Labor Department.

Resilient Institute Adds Seven New Members   Full Article
LaGrange, GA, Nov. 13, 2014 -- The Resilient Floor Covering Institute has expanded membership, adding four manufacturers and three suppliers to its roster.

Distributor Fishman Rolls Out Private Label Flooring   Full Article
Baltimore, MD, Nov. 13, 2014 -- Distributor Fishman Flooring Solutions said it is entering the private label flooring business.

Foreclosure Filings Spike in September   Full Article
Irvine, CA, Nov. 13, 2014 -- Foreclosure filings were reported on 123,109 properties in October, according to tracking firm RealtyTrac.

Wholesale Inventories Rise in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 12, 2014 -- U.S. wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in September after a 0.6% gain in August, according to the Commerce Department.

Beazer Homes Returns To Profit for Year   Full Article
Atlanta, GA, Nov. 12, 2014 -- Beazer Homes reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $59.8 million or $1.88 per share, compared to $11.9 million a year ago.

Mortgage Applications Fall Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 12, 2014 -- Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as interest rates rose, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

NAFCD Names Award Winners   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 12, 2014 -- The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors has named the winners of its Leadership in Action and Lifetime Achievement awards.

First TISE East Draws International Attendees   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Nov. 12, 2014 -- Hanley Wood Exhibitions said that its first-ever International Surface Event East featured 185 exhibiting companies covering over 50,000 square feet of booths and displays.

NAFCD Urges Members To Support Habitat Stores   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 11, 2014 -- The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors Association is urging its members to support Habitat for Humanity's ReStores by donating materials and products.

Former Mannington VP Hollinger Dies   Full Article
Kennett Square, PA, Nov. 11, 2014 -- Mark A. Hollinger, age 58, a long-time Mannington Mills employee, died Nov. 5 after a year long battle with glioblastoma multiforme.

Desso Using Water Company Waste in Carpet Tile   Full Article
Waalwijk, The Netherlands, Nov. 11, 2014 -- Carpet company Desso said it is using chalk from local water companies to make its products.

Investment Adviser Reduces Stake in Armstrong   Full Article
Boston, MA, Nov. 11, 2014 -- Wellington Management Company of Boston has reduced its stake in Armstrong World Industries to less than 5% of the firm.

Mr. David's Founders Named Persons of Year   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 11, 2014 -- David and Leonard Zmijewski, the founders of Mr. David's Flooring International, have been named Persons of the Year by the Chicago Floor Covering Association.

Dover Rug & Home Wins Philanthropy Award   Full Article
Natick, MA, Nov. 10, 2014 -- Dover Rug & Home said it is the recipient of the 2014 Community Excellence Award, given by the Family Business Association of Massachusetts.

More Home Refinancers Taking Cash at Closing   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 10, 2014 -- Borrowers cashed out an estimated $8 billion in home equity through refinancing of conventional mortgages in the third quarter, according to Freddie Mac’s quarterly refinancing report.