Editor Philippa Turrell says welcome to 2021 and let’s focus on the positive signs in the market.
Never have people been so quick to wish a year away than the past 12 months of 2020.
It has been one of the most unsettling and downright disruptive times for business, in history, with many kbb retailers facing the greatest challenges of their working lives.
Starting 2021 with a national lockdown is not the news we all wanted, but along with the vaccine has come hope that we will be able to return to normal.
Until then, although worrying, we now all have a far better understanding of the demands of working in the current climate.
On a positive note, people spending more time at home and unable to travel have invested in their home, with 1.8million people starting new bathroom and kitchen renovations after the first national lockdown according to Powered Now.
And industry experts believe that the start of 2021 will be positive for kbb retail, despite showrooms still unable to open.
Businesses will be buoyed not only by housebuild sales and the resultant RMI market, but also consumers still uncertain about travelling, so continuing to invest in their homes.
While those fearing about a lack of future sales will be promoting their businesses through social media, and pushing customers to their website to start the sales process.
Of course, the continuing demand for bathroom and kitchens could further exacerbate the stock shortages already taking place in the industry.
Following the first national lockdown manufacturers who closed their factories and now operate within social distancing guidelines have worked hard to keep up with the demand of a V-bounce in sales.
But clear lines of communication throughout the supply chain from manufacturers through to distributors, retailers and their customers should help manage expectations and avoid disappointment.
Ultimately, it may be the macro economics which most impact kbb retail in 2021, from the impact of Brexit price hikes through to possible redundancies following the end of the Government’s Job Support Scheme.
But, 2020 has already taught the kbb industry tough lessons about being agile, adapting swiftly to new market conditions and steering businesses through unforeseen events.
Although 2021 will be challenging, there are positive signs in the market. And it must be remembered, there will always be obstacles in business – whether political, sociological, or economical.
If the supply chain works together, in harmony, to achieve the same aims of supplying kitchens and bathrooms to consumers, then that should ease the path of sales.