The American Society of Interior Designers’s (ASID) annual Environmental Scanning Report reveals that interior design billings are on the rebound, creating a rise in employment and wages.
Billings for most of 2010-2011 declined but began to rebound in 2012. The residential index at the end of 2012 stood at 55.9, marking four straight months of growth—a level that has not been seen since late 2005.
Further, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, approximately 40,950 interior designers were employed in the United States in May 2011—a 2% increase over 2010 and the first increase since 2008. In this same period, the mean annual wage for interior designers rose 3.5%.
While the economy may be recovering, economists question what the profile of the emerging consumer will look like. Most trends point toward a mix of value-conscious socially connected and empowered consumers who will expect more personalization and long-term value from their purchases and transactions. Service providers and manufacturers will be challenged to respond to the motivations and desires of the new consumer in order to maintain relevance.
Technology continues to play a major role in the consumer/designer dynamic. In a world where consumers are increasingly using their devices to research products, check reviews and price points, designers who adapt will find opportunities to build their practice and create interactive environments that respond to an increasingly empowered, mobile clientele. Along with technology, online communities are increasingly becoming a critical venue to display work and exchange ideas creating new business models.
Rising home values, increased sales transactions, low interest rates, increased lending and more prospective buyers will continue to create opportunity for designers in a recovering market. As Baby Boomers begin to downsize and Millennials start buying their first homes, the design industry should prepare to meet the needs of a rapidly changing population.
The full ASID 2013 Environmental Scanning Report can be downloaded here for $25.00.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is a community of people—designers, industry representatives, educators and students—committed to interior design.