Verona, a UK distributor of tiles, mosaics, outdoor porcelain and flooring, has released findings from its insight report done among a nationwide network of independent retailers which discovers how the industry is performing post-pandemic. According to the distributor, key highlights indicate a positive attitude and sense of optimism amongst retailers who feel business is strong despite the pandemic and rising cost of living issue, with working relationships, product offerings and consumer demand better than ever.
Despite setbacks over the past few years, independent retailers reportedly remain positive about the future of business. With extra support from their suppliers throughout the pandemic, many retailers feel they have forged stronger, more reliable working relationships and are able to have their needs met more efficiently, whether be ordering more stock, meeting tight deadlines or requesting sales materials.
Retailers are said to be happy with the variety of tiles on offer. Research suggests retailers are adopting a well-rounded product offering which now spans tiles, flooring and outdoor porcelain. With interior trends shifting every season, Verona says, it’s vital suppliers can spot the next big thing to help retailers offer a diverse product offering comprising of both contemporary and timeless styles.
Feedback suggests there is a hunger for more small format designs, including geometric hexagon, rhombus and diamond formats, as well as larger outdoor porcelain and bold, decorative designs. In response, Verona says, it will be launching a string of collections to cater to these areas and help accelerate retailer sales.
In terms of materials and purpose, porcelain is currently selling better than ceramic, bathroom tiles are in greater demand than kitchen tiles and patterned tiles are more popular than plain, meaning retailers need to ensure their core range also moves with the times.
With an ever-growing number of chain tile stores opening and household DIY retailers expanding their surface options, independent retailers are more under pressure than ever to meet consumer demand for trend-led designs, round-the-clock support and competitive prices. Most independent retailers say they are in a strong position, offering quality products hand-picked from trusted suppliers, but there is concern across the board about being undercut on price by national retailers.
Jayne Adamson, marketing manager at Verona said: ‘With the nation and businesses facing a barrage of national crisis’ over the last few years, we felt it was key to carry out research with our independent retailers to better understand their opportunities and threats. What was most encouraging was learning that the majority of customers feel like stronger working relationships have been formed and that suppliers are providing them with the support they need to meet demand and succeed in a competitive market.’