Photo courtesy of Design & Construction Week
I’m writing live from Design & Construction week, the amalgamation of several industry conferences that were once faltering but have now come together to produce one vibrant, bustling show. With only minutes to spare between back to back meetings, I can guarantee that this blog won’t be my longest or cleverest, but here is the skinny on the show:
- Spirits are high. The market is as strong as it has been in years, and people feel good about 2015 and beyond. Gone are the shell shocked days of 2008 when show goers were glazed over with fear about the future.
- While I haven’t seen any breakthrough innovations (yet), there are lots of new colors, finishings, and selections. This bodes well for longer-term, bigger-picture progress, as it indicates that manufacturers are starting to invest again in product development.
- Manufacturers have reported that the conversations they’re having with building professionals are more sophisticated than ever, indicating that the level of building science knowledge is at an all-time high.
- Boomers are most definitely downsizing, but they’re more diverse than we thought. While some are “right sizing” into just a smaller version of the McMansion with less space but the same level of elegance, many are opting for a much simpler version of home, defying projections and expectations.
- While we think we know millennials, we don’t, really. Will they eventually get married and move to the suburbs? What will their housing needs and preferences be over the next 5 years? And can we wait for them to reach their peak buying potential, or do we need to figure out how to bolster the industry in the meantime?
For the most part, many of the products and messages displayed this year are retreads from last year (indicating that the industry was in neutral in 2014 waiting to see which way the market would go), but clearly the momentum is moving in the right direction and I anticipate that we’ll see more innovation in 2015.
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