KBB Birmingham has revealed the findings from its latest industry research, based on a survey that polled the opinions of industry professionals, including manufacturers, designers, installers and retailers across the KBB industry, to ask about their outlook for the sector in the year ahead.
According to the research, the KBB sector has had mixed success in 2023 with positive revenue and growth for some, and shrinking revenue and sales for others. When asked about revenue and sales volume for their business in the past year, 63% of retailers reported a positive story, with either an increase (30%) or responding that revenues stayed the same (33%). Almost 1 in 5 say that they have increased the number of outlets they have. However the majority of retailers have kept the same number of outlets.
For manufacturers, 27% have seen an increase in their revenue and sales volume whilst 26% reported that their revenue and sales have stayed the same. The majority of the manufacturers surveyed felt that the skills shortage was the biggest challenge facing the industry, with a lack of experienced fitters available. Other concerns mentioned by manufacturers were staff retention, smaller budgets leading to more 'DIY' projects by consumers, inflation and rising product/material costs, and recovering debt from customers.
Retailers felt that their biggest challenges were customers shopping online/competing with online retailers, high rents and limited supply for showrooms, and staffing/recruitment. When asked to look ahead, 66% of retailers expect to see some future growth, which paints a promising outlook. Manufacturers were a little less optimistic with 38% predicting a ‘small decline’ in the year ahead. However 24% do expect to see some growth.
A noteworthy trend is the growth of digital marketing within the sector, with it being where most marketing investment is planned for the year ahead, with over 80% of marketers planning activity in this area.
KBB Birmingham event director Sam Fisher said: “The research gives us important insights on what 2023 has delivered for the KBB sector and to really understand the challenges our exhibitors and visitors may be facing in the year ahead. With global markets facing economic uncertainty, this is reflected in the responses, which indicate some challenges ahead for the sector. We want to ensure we have opportunities for visitors to KBB Birmingham to access useful information and support, so are planning a series of drop-in clinics at the show, from financial advisors giving free advice for small businesses, to marketing experts giving digital marketing Q&A sessions.”
KBB Birmingham returns from 3rd - 6th of March 2024 to the NEC and will feature over 230+ exhibiting brands from across 26 different categories.