NEWPORT NEWS, VA — As the nation approaches the year-and-a-half mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners continue to reevaluate their living spaces, “with many looking for ways to put the ‘home’ back in a more functional house.”
That’s the key conclusion of a major new consumer survey conducted by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, in an effort to better understand how the global public-health crisis impacted trends in home renovation and updates. The survey, fielded this spring on behalf of Ferguson by G&S Business Communications, involved some 1,100 U.S. adults aged 18+, according to the Newport News, VA-based distributor of plumbing, lighting and related products.
The Ferguson survey, whose results were released in July, found that 64% of Americans made an update of some kind to their home, or a room in their home, during the pandemic. The most popular reasons for the update included being tired of the home’s current style (34%) and needing to make changes for better functionality (32%), Ferguson said.
The kitchen (47%) and the bathroom (44%) were the top choices when it comes to specific areas of the home people would want to redesign or upgrade based on spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing number of Americans say they would want to redesign or upgrade their outdoor space (30% in 2021 compared to 23% in 2020), Ferguson reported.
Interestingly, the room people spent the most amount of time in last year compared to previous years was the living room (50%), with 33% of Americans working from home in their living rooms during the pandemic. A third (33%) spent more time in their bedrooms and nearly a third (32%) spent more time in the kitchen. Younger generations were more likely than older generations to say they spent more time in the bedroom and bathroom, but just as likely to say they spend more time in the living room.
“There are likely a number of reasons why the living room grew in importance over the past year, since it was used as a gathering place during quarantine, for home schooling and other activities,” Ferguson reported. “We may also see this trend, in part, because people who work from home often set up their workstation in their living rooms.”
Just over a third of respondents (34%) said they started working from home during the pandemic, Ferguson said. Within this group, a third said they have been working in the living room and a third have been working from an existing office, the company added.
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RESTON, VA — Last year’s imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on wooden cabinets, vanities and components from China “continues to have a huge beneficial impact” for domestic cabinet suppliers, although other nations are allegedly evading the trade duties, according to the law firm contesting the imports on behalf of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association.
According to Luke Meisner of Washington, DC-based Schagrin Associates, the latest import statistics made public by the U.S. Commerce Dept. reflect a significant monthly decline since 2020 in cabinet, vanity and component shipments from China, although imports of those products from Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia and other countries “increased tremendously” after the AD/CVD duties were imposed on Chinese imports found to be in violation of antidumping laws.
“In 2021, Thailand is emerging as another potential significant source of imports,” Meisner informed the Reston, VA-based KCMA, which has been battling against allegedly government-subsidized Chinese imports of wooden cabinets, vanities and cabinets components, including doors, drawer fronts and face frames. KCMA members represent most of the cabinet industry’s largest domestic suppliers.
“Cambodia showed a large increase in 2020, but imports have moderated somewhat in 2021,” Meisner reported, attributing the slowdown to a preliminary determination of antidumping and countervailing duty evasion that was recently made by U.S. Customs agents regarding alleged transshipment through Cambodia.
“Our research continues to show that increased imports from countries other than China are due to a combination of transshipment of Chinese cabinets through these countries and new production facilities popping up in these countries,” Meisner observed.
The attorney informed KCMA officials that Schagrin Associates is “making significant inroads in combatting evasion of the AD/CVD duties through transshipment.” In addition, Meisner said, recent Congressional legislation could address what the attorney termed a “whack-a-mole” problem that occurs when trade remedy orders are put in place on imports from one country resulting in the U.S. becoming flooded with dumped or subsidized imports of that same product from a different country.
According to Meisner, Schagrin Associates continues to assist the Dept. of Justice in defending AD/CVD orders on Chinese imports from challenges by Chinese producers and importers. The KCMA has also filed charges with U.S. Customs officials regarding the alleged transshipment of Chinese cabinets through third countries, Meisner said.
“We anticipate that Customs will take strong enforcement action against…importers involving evasion schemes,” the attorney said.
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