Shifting trends

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SPC’s well-documented attributes—especially its waterproof qualities—are key selling points for RSAs. Shown is Axiscor’s Pro12.

The LVT segment, resilient’s growth heavy hitter, saw some major shifts happen in 2019. From the decline in flexible click to the surge in rigid core and SPC and its cannibalization of the WPC subsegment, LVT was driven by several new factors. 

"SPC is the fastest growing category due to great aesthetics, waterproof properties, impact resistance, dimensional stability and overall value," said Ana Torrence, hard surface category manager, Engineered Floors. "These attributes, coupled with the ease of installation, has accelerated growth in this category’s popularity in a time where qualified installers are in short supply."

Industry observers agree, SPC is primarily taking share from other segments due to its performance attributes. "The big three are dimensional stability, telegraphing and temperature," said Jeff Francis, resilient category director, residential division, Shaw Industries. "And it just continues to perform. We don’t think SPC is done—we're still in the growth cycle before we hit the life cycle and start peaking. I don't see that changing until another major innovation comes along."

FCNews research shows that in one year the subsegment doubled in terms of volume and more than doubled in terms of dollars. According to the research, the subsegment accounted for 37.1% of the LVT market in terms of residential dollars or $1.126 billion, com- pared to $490 million in 2018. In terms of residential volume, SPC accounted 33.4% of the LVT market or 667.5 million square feet, compared to 335.5 million square feet in 2018.

SPC's run on its WPC counterpart is evident in the numbers. FCNews research shows WPC declined 17.4% in terms of dollars to $929 million in 2019, compared to $1.125 billion in 2018. In terms of volume, WPC declined 16% to 429 million square feet in 2019, compared to 511 million square feet in 2018.

"Little to no [resilient] investment is in growing incremental WPC capacity," said Ed Sanchez, vice president product management, Mohawk Industries. "Globally, I think you'll see people looking at shifting their manufacturing from WPC to SPC. Very few new SKU intros done in the space have been in WPC. That is the trend that will continue until we see the next innovation."

When comparing WPC vs. SPC, Kurt Denman, chief marketing officer, Congoleum, said, "You trade almost no performance attributes from WPC to SPC, but you get it at a much better price point. So, we think it’s still going to continue to be the growing category, and it's going to move all WPC to SPC."

Mohawk's Sanchez explained that the performance characteristics of WPC vs. SPC came into view for many consumers who began the five-to-six-year moving cycle in 2019. "They are seeing that WPC, though it was beautiful, didn't have the same durability that the new SPC does," he explained. "So, you're seeing a lot of data come back from consumers who— after moving fridges and heavy couches—are seeing dents. That's creating an increased awareness, and SPC gives you all of the benefits [of WPC] plus solves some of these issues."

Post time: Dec-28-2020