During March 2014, home improvement spending was estimated at an annual rate of $145 billion and revenue increased for the first quarter of 2014, according to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI).
“Despite an overall weak economy during the first quarter of 2014, the IDBI suggests a positive outlook for the interior design industry, said Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., who partnered with ASID Research Director Andy Whittaker on the index. “I remain optimistic about the balance of the year. Income, employment and consumer confidence continue to improve, suggesting sustained growth in all sectors.”
For the period March 2013 through March 2014, the ASID IDBI has been above the norm of 50 for 12 consecutive months (52.7 at the end of the Q1), indicating growth across the interior design industry, particularly for larger interior design firms. In addition, the ASID IDBI reveals strong inquiry scores, indicating that firms are being contacted more frequently regarding potential projects.
In March, the New Projects Inquiries Index stood at 63.5, establishing a new benchmark, while the single-family residential sector continued to report steady increases, maintaining an index of well above 50, month over month for the past 12 months.
The nonresidential sector, including retail, office, hospitality, education, healthcare and government segments, all experienced a positive first quarter, reporting increased billings for all three months. Of particular note, the education segment broke free of a 13-month losing streak, reporting increased billings for each month of the quarter.
The Conference Board Expectations Index of consumer confidence suggests an economic outlook similar to that of the ASID IDBI. For example, in September 2013, the IDBI six-month outlook score was 70.9. At the close of the first quarter, that same score was 76.1. Likewise, the Conference Board Expectations Index stood at 76.5 in September 2013 and rose to 83.5 at the end of Q1 2014.
The index, which launched in November 2010, is a diffusion index compiled from a monthly ASID survey of 300 geographically diverse firms that primarily offer interior design services or offer interior design services as part of architectural, engineering and other related practices. Resulting perspectives on current and future business conditions for the interior design industry are helpful indicators of changes in the direction of economic activity.