Flooring products are among the most important building materials. Flooring is a versatile market with a wide product portfolio. The flooring market is expected to expand significantly due to strong growth of construction and automotive sectors coupled with increase in home improvement and renovation project activities. Demand for flooring is anticipated to more than double by 2023. Based on major applications, the flooring market can be classified into residential construction, commercial construction, and other applications such as industrial and automotive. Residential is the largest end-user segment of the flooring market. Increase in residential construction in developing countries and reconstruction activities in mature economies in North America and Europe are driving the global flooring market. However, most countries in Europe and North America have issued regulations against the import of lumber from due to illegal deforestation. Hardwood flooring is losing its market share to cheaper flooring products such as laminate and resilient flooring due to rise in prices of raw materials.
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In terms of value chain, a high degree of backward integration is being witnessed in the flooring market. Several key players in the market are engaged in the manufacture of raw materials. Amoco, a subsidiary of Shaw Industries, is actively involved in the manufacture of fiber. Amoco manufactures polypropylene fibers, which are used by Shaw Industries to manufacture carpets & rugs. Besides being a key player in the hardwood flooring market, Boral Limited is involved in the timber business. Burke Industries Inc., a major rubber manufacturing company based in California, the U.S., is owned by Mannington Mills, one of the largest flooring manufacturers in North America.
Demand for carpets & rugs was the largest in the flooring industry in 2014. Carpets & rugs are used primarily in cold regions. These keep the floor from getting too cold. Demand for these flooring products has been rising due to economic recovery in regions such as North America. The segment was followed by tile flooring. Ceramic tiles are used for various purposes such as designing, floor and wall fittings, and protection from rain and moisture and other environmental hazards in the residential replacement industry. Growth of the tile flooring market has been primarily driven by rising demand for these tiles in countries with rapid infrastructure development.
The residential sector was the largest application segment in the flooring market in 2014. Demand for flooring products has increased due to rise in construction of residential buildings. Demand for residential flooring is growing, especially in emerging countries such as India, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Malaysia, owing to the steady growth of the construction industry in these regions. Economic growth and robust forecast for fixed investment in commercial buildings are factors driving the growth for new and replacement flooring in industrial and commercial application sectors in emerging economies. Growth of commercial flooring is primarily ascribed to the backlog of deferred replacements that began during the economic downturn of 2008.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional segment of the flooring market in 2014. Rise in the number of building construction activities and increase in commercialization in emerging economies such as China and India have been the primary growth factors for the flooring market in Asia Pacific. Furthermore, demand for flooring was the highest in the region due to infrastructural development in commercial, industrial, and healthcare sectors. Demand for flooring materials is rising in the commercial sector due to several factors such as increase in corporate earnings, rise in per capita income and spending, and GDP growth in emerging regions such as India, China, Brazil, GCC, and Africa.