Spring 2020 Market Update
“There will definitely be a new normal; but before that we will have a new abnormal.”
-Furniture Industry CEO
This has been a strange springtime for the world and the furniture industry. Typically, this season is a happy marathon for the Stump Team as we enjoy back to back markets kicking off in High Point in April, HD-Vegas in May, NeoCon in June, and finally the World Market in Vegas in July. We have missed the opportunity to see our clients and friends.
But necessity is the mother of invention and as a result of COVID-19 the industry is adopting new and clever ways to present product introductions and engage with customers. Zoom calls, webinars, drone showroom tours, private audience appointments with personalized face masks, and a host of other new tools have been introduced to conduct commerce. The IMC opened an e-commerce virtual market portal for showcasing products for its tenants and buyers. And NeoCon has announced “NeoConnect,” a virtual portal to assist in new product introductions in the month of June.
The Stump team is also hard at work using new tools to meet the needs of our clients. Video messaging has been a fun and effective tool to convey our message (see two message links below) and we have used this time as an opportunity to improve our CRM and database management systems. M&A will continue to be a strong force in our industry as we come to grips with re-opening America, changing market patterns, and shifting purchasing preferences.
As our clients and friends settle into the new abnormal, frequent topics of discussion revolve around PPP loans, cash conservation measures, cost cutting, and rent abatements. The industry is also grappling with how to restructure markets to work for the future. Technology and creativity will be required to figure this out. There are also questions of how the industry will adapt to social distancing: Will markets be longer, to help thin out crowds on any given day? Will there be capacity restrictions on elevators, showrooms, and buildings? Will there be changes in the annual calendar of markets, or a reduction in the number of markets? Only time will tell, but most of our clients anticipate that markets will not have settled into a long term new normal until well into 2021.
Despite these questions and struggles, we trust our industry to rise to these new challenges and come out stronger, more vibrant, and more successful than ever before.
Give us a call if we can be of assistance to you as you navigate these strange times. Our digital conference room is only a phone call or email away.