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Technology Use Up Sharply At Kitchen/Bath Firms, Survey Finds

CHICAGO, IL — The use of cutting-edge technology for project design, client relations, management and marketing has become far more prevalent throughout the kitchen/bath design community since the onset of COVID-19 and its impact on showroom protocols, client access and other business operations.

Tied to this overarching trend, kitchen and bath design professionals are apparently utilizing – and spending more on – an ever-broadening array of technological tools, as companies attempt to upgrade websites, conduct online meetings, enhance digital presentations, offer virtual showroom tours, provide internet purchasing options and implement virtual and/or augmented reality. At the same time, dealers and designers report they’re facing a handful of challenges in implementing the seemingly unending flood of high-tech tools becoming available.

Those are among the key findings of a nationwide survey conducted on behalf of Kitchen & Bath Design News by its exclusive research partner, the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI). The online survey involved a representative sampling of kitchen/bath dealers and designers, including those at firms that maintain a showroom as well as those who operate independently.

According to the survey’s findings, eight in ten dealers and designers polled currently use both a smart phone and a company website as the primary technology tools for their businesses. Design software, laptops, social media and Cloud-based storage are utilized by more than half the survey respondents. Other commonly used technology tools include business/design apps, online advertising, business management/ordering software and contact/email management software.

The KBDN survey also revealed that recipients’ top three technology-related activities revolve around conducting online meetings with clients and/or subcontractors, enhancing online communication to present designs or proposals, and using virtual and/or augmented reality to demonstrate design possibilities to clients. Moreover, a vast majority (between 59%-73%) of those surveyed say they are doing more of those things compared to pre-COVID – particularly when it comes to handling project drawings or designs – while a significant number say they anticipate adding those, along with other, technological capabilities in the future.

On average, surveyed designers and dealers report that they currently spend about 8% of their annual expense budget on various forms of technology, with 38% reporting that they are now spending more than they were prior to the global pandemic, and 56% saying they’re spending about the same. In contrast, only about 6% say they’re spending either “somewhat” or “much” less than prior to COVID-19.

When it comes to utilizing technology tools to market their business, surveyed designers and dealers said they primarily utilize their company’s website (82%), along with social media posts (53%). More than half of the surveyed design pros say they are now using LinkedIn ads, text/mobile ads and blogs/forums more than they were a year ago, though all of those tools are used relatively infrequently.


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NKBA Extends Free KBIS Registration for Members

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — The National Kitchen & Bath Association has announced the extension of free show-floor registration for association members planning to attend the 2022 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.

The extension, through Oct. 15, will provide NKBA members with complimentary access to the exhibit hall for the annual trade show and educational conference, scheduled for Feb. 8-10, 2022, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, the Hackettstown, NJ-based NKBA said.

KBIS, which is owned by the NKBA and produced by Emerald Expositions, is the largest North American trade expo and networking opportunity for kitchen and bath industry professionals. The show is conducted in conjunction with the International Builders’ Show (IBS) as part of “Design & Construction Week.” The two shows are expected to feature more than 800,000 net sq. ft. of exhibit space and showcase more than 1,000 design and construction brands.

Registration information can be obtained by visiting the NKBA’s website at www.nkba.org.


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