In the beginning of the year, we asked industry experts about their trend predictions. In this article, we revisit this topic.

In the beginning of the year, FLOORS in Africa magazine published an article about top flooring trends for 2016. In this article, we asked industry experts to give input and insights on which products they thought would be movers and shakers over the next 12 months.

As the year is quickly coming to a close, we decided to contact these experts once again to find out if their predictions were accurate. Here’s what some of South Africa’s thought leaders had to say.

Martin Farmer, Sales Representative Africa, Egger
We received overwhelmingly positive feedback for our large flooring format products (1,291mm x 246mm). Thanks to the four-sided Woodvision bevel of the wide flooring panels, even small rooms look wider and more open. What we saw over the past couple of months is that this wide and open effect can be further intensified when used in conjunction with light decors such as the Sonnenberg Spruce (H2415) from our EGGER laminate flooring collection. Darker decors such as the Knoxville Oak grey (H1026) are giving rooms a warmer and more sophisticated feel when used in conjunction with modern or very light furnishings.

As a designer product, laminate flooring keeps up with our fast-paced times. The vintage style with its striking appearance is very trendy and will gain even more importance. Light and warm decors in all types of wood, worn and bearing scars, tell their unique stories here. These decors are suitable for creating a homelike and rustic atmosphere. They harmonise perfectly with heirlooms, existing favourites and designer pieces, and industrial brand name goods.

Peter Kuipers, Director, MFLOR
My predictions that natural looking designs would become increasingly popular in 2016 was indeed accurate. We have noted that the In Register Embossing from the mFLOR Authentic range was a popular choice along with stone designs like the mFLOR Fonteyn (91cm x 91cm) as well as the GRAND Milano (130cm x 130cm). Owing to the success of the Parva Parquet, which meets the needs of professionals who are pursuing a retro look and feel, we are planning to launch an even bigger size called Parva Plus, which will be 61cm x 11cm.

I predict that we will continue to see even larger sizes in wood designs as well as a trend towards stone designs in 2017. Another trend I foresee is more lifestyle orientation in decorating rooms and project areas, for instance, classic, industrial, modern, rustic and Scandinavian themed rooms.

Ulf Hellmuth, Export Manager, Bergo Flooring
I predict that there will be real breakthroughs in 2017. We haven’t seen any clear trends from customers over the past few months. Our new printed products called Concept Top Tile are still in the concept phase but we are excited to see what the industry uptake on these will be. We estimate that our sales of this new product will kick off in 2017. Furthermore, we are happy to report an increased demand in our sports floors and we foresee an approximate 20% increase in sales in this flooring category.

LA Train, Director, EarthWerks
As the year has progressed, there is no doubt that colour and design are still two of the most important factors that consumers consider when making a decision and I believe that these two factors will continue to influence the market. We have also seen a global movement towards the more rigid LVT (luxury vinyl tile) type products, including the product we call WPC (waterproof core). These products require less subfloor preparation and tend to hide subfloor irregularities.

We predict that by Domotex 2017, most LVT manufacturers will be offering the rigid LVT type products which we believe will take sales away from both laminate and standard LVT click type products. These new rigid type products require less subfloor preparation and tend to hide subfloor irregularities. They also have greater dimensional stability.

Our distributor in South Africa, FloorworX, launched the EarthWerks brand in March. They are continuing to gain traction on the line as dealers see what they have to offer. We are confident that they will be a major player in the LVT market in South Africa.

With some of the 2016 trends largely realised, we are excited to see how the predictions for 2017 will play out in the flooring sector in the new year.