The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), a nonprofit trade association serving 40,000 members, produces a quarterly Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI) to gauge the industry’s mindset. The KBMI surveys 150 kitchen and bath dealers across North America, asking them to compare previous results for sales volume, remodeling prices, showroom visits, and revenue, as well as estimate those same categories for the coming business quarter. Ranging from -60 to +60, the index total provides a snapshot of overall feelings as being either positive or negative.

Most dealers experienced minor growth during the first half of 2011, and about half of them expect those numbers to further improve in the third quarter. According to NKBA executive vice president Bill Darcy, “Kitchen and bath dealers did report positive increases in revenue quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, which certainly helps encourage cautious optimism. However, the reality of high unemployment and low consumer spending suggest that the kitchen and bath industry will continue to face a tough road in the near future.”
Despite an 18 percent drop in showroom visits during the second quarter, 51 percent of the dealers surveyed anticipate higher numbers of visits in the upcoming third quarter. This summer saw a 15 percent rise in visits compared with the same time frame in 2010. Sales volume for both kitchen and bath remodeling projects grew slightly during the second quarter this year, while a hopeful 18 percent of respondents expect remodeling prices to also climb during the third quarter.

Revenue for kitchen and bath dealers rose a slight 6 percent during the second quarter, but that rate is an increase of 8 percent from summer 2010. Nearly half (49 percent) of the dealers questioned foresee a continued rise in revenue through the third quarter of 2011. While still on the positive side at +21, the index total indicates that average expectations are good but not as optimistic as earlier this year when the index peaked at +37 during the first quarter.