Main image: Photo credit – The Constructor

Upheavals across the world have had a tsunami effect on the flooring industry. In this article, we review the latest flooring market analysis from the US and draw parallels to the South African context.

Floor Focus, renowned for its market research, recently adjusted how it compiles the top five players in each flooring category to present a more comprehensive view of the US flooring market. Previously, the players had to domestically produce at least some of the product in the category. This year’s list includes those that don’t manufacture domestically and those that don’t operate manufacturing facilities.

Although the manufacturer invests in domestic production, flooring is a global business. All the largest US manufacturers rely on either overseas production or sourcing for some of their products. This is also the case in South Africa where the import market has grown significantly in recent years. Local production of product had been replaced by imports from all over the world, predominantly China.

2021/2020 Market share by surface type and Market value by surface type. Photo credits:  Floor Focus

Supply chain issues likely to continue

Many of the supply chain issues seem likely to continue through much of the year. In the US, there is still a trucking shortage, containers sitting at port and flotillas of ships waiting to dock and unload. Labour shortages are impeding the smooth functioning of every aspect of the flooring industry. On top of that, many material costs are still on the rise.

Ditto for local supply issues. Coupled with the flooding in Durban, unprecedented rainfall, inefficient ports and continually rising fuel prices, ships and containers are in high demand and low supply in Southern Africa.

International impact

China’s recent lockdowns are leading to bottlenecks that will send ramifications through the global market. More lockdowns throughout the year will further the volatility.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a range of impacts on the flooring industry. Beyond the broad impacts on fossil fuel costs – from transportation and energy generation to refinement into the polymers used in flooring – both nations are big suppliers in the flooring industry.

Growing economy

Fortunately, the US economy is healthy and growing and has proven to be resilient during the pandemic. In terms of production and transportation of raw and finished goods, both domestically and internationally, a moderation in demand could help ease the congestion and renew efficiencies in the supply chain.

South Africa, though facing drastic challenges, has proven itself resilient. Flooring resellers and installers are reporting record sales months. Even the commercial market (anything non-homeowner residential) is seeing a definite upturn and the flooring industry is ready to supply.

Full acknowledgment and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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