Global demand for flooring to rise

Worldwide demand for flooring and carpets is forecast to rise 4.9% annually through 2016, according to a study by the Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. This will be an improvement from the rate during the 2006-2011 period, as countries rebound from the 2008 global economic crisis.

In terms of dollars, demand for floor coverings is projected to advance 6.8% per year to $270 billion. The primary driver of demand in developed areas will be rebounds in the residential construction markets of many countries, particularly the United States. In developing regions, rising building construction activity and growing per capita incomes will spur demand and allow households to afford more expensive floor coverings, the report said. Rising motor vehicle production in many areas will also boost overall demand for floor coverings. 

The Asia/Pacific region is forecast to see the fastest gains in floor covering demand, driven by the rapid industrialization of many countries in this region and rising personal incomes. China alone is projected to account for more than one-third of all new demand generated through 2016, strengthening its position as the largest market for flooring and carpets in the world. North America is expected to see the second fastest gains in flooring and carpet demand, driven by an expected rebound in the U.S. housing market.  Gains in developed areas such as Western Europe, Australia and Japan will not be as strong as those in North America or developing regions. However, a rebound in new housing construction will boost demand in many of these countries. 

Residential buildings constitute the largest market for floor coverings, accounting for 59% of sales in 2011.  Nonresidential buildings made up 35% of demand, with transportation and other markets representing the remaining 6%. Through 2016, the fastest gains in demand are expected in the nonresidential buildings market, primarily due to a rebound in nonresidential construction expenditures in countries recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis and 2009 economic downturn. Demand growth in the transportation equipment and other market will see strong gains due to rising motor vehicle production, while demand in the residential building market will see similar