Stump Reports on NeoCon/Design Days 2024

Chicago, IL, June 14, 2024-Stump issued the following report about Chicago's Design Days 2024, “Attendance was up significantly; we heard estimates ranging from 50,000 to 75,000 visitors. The halls were packed at the Merchandise Mart (NeoCon) and the main streets on and around Fulton Street Market (Design Days) were busy every time we were there. Attitudes on business outlook were mixed but generally positive, referencing flat to modest growth over 2023 with better outlooks for the rest of the year.

North American Strength: With Asian and European economies struggling, we continue to see global players focusing on the U.S. marketplace for sales growth, and the U.S. and Mexico for more production. We are fans of Mexico and are just completing a project in Tijuana. Supply chain diversification was a big topic of conversation, and we believe will continue to be a key point of emphasis in the coming years. 

Soft Seating: The hot product categories are soft seating for collaborative workspaces and public areas. Our highlighted sale of Stylex to Flokk (closed January of this year) was widely discussed-and we expect to see more M&A in this sector. 

Hospitality: With travel in full swing, plus earlier Covid years that saw little investment, hotel owners are now spending money on guest rooms and public spaces. More commercial manufacturing companies are looking to this fast-growing channel as another avenue of growth. 

Omni-Channel: The Contract ‘big guys’ (Steelcase, MillerKnoll, Haworth, HNI, Global/Teknion, etc.) are historically focused on sales via dealerships. However, more and more revenue is going through e-commerce and non-dealer channels. Expect to see M&A drive this move towards an Omni-channel approach.

Technology: We continue to see AI deployed across the business spectrum. CET has become a powerful technology for floor planning within the commercial landscape. We watched a presentation of Thumbprint, a new floor planning technology, and were impressed with its capabilities. Smart companies will be broadening their use of technology in daily functions to advance and win.”