Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAY 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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An expanding array of technological tools is impacting the kitchen & bath design trade, creating both exciting opportunities and significant challenges, a new KBDN survey finds. BY ELIOT SEFRIN Technology Tools dazzling – and expanding – array of cutting-edge tech- nological tools is being utilized by kitchen and bath design professionals in a fluid, fashion-driven market that's being impacted by a growing universe of digitally savvy consumers. That's among the key findings of a major new survey con- ducted for Kitchen & Bath Design News by the Wilmington, NC- based Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence. The online RICKI survey, conducted in March among nearly 300 dealers and designers, spotlights the rapidly growing range of technological tools being used by design pros for sales, marketing, designing and other key business functions (see related Editorial, Page 9). According to survey respondents, the greatest benefit they're finding in technology is that it better enables clients to visualize the kitchen and bath projects they're considering. Technology also enables greater efficiency in business opera- tions, saves time and allows for more effective communication with clients, suppliers and subcontractors, surveyed dealers and designers say. Nevertheless, despite its myriad benefits, technology also presents several key challenges, according to dealers and designers polled. The steepest of them, survey respondents re- port, is the inevitable learning curve associated with getting up to speed on a new technological tool. Other challenges include the cost of technology, the rapid pace of change and the need to be "on" 24/7. USES FOR TECHNOLOGY Among their most-utilized technology tools, survey respon- dents reported, are smart phones (82.7%), company websites (77.1%), laptop computers (68.7%), design software (67.3%) and social media (62.7%). Other commonly used digital tools include tablets, cloud-based storage, contact/email manage- ment software and business/design apps (see Graph 1). The presence of these and other digital tools is also apparently important to clients. For example, more than 70% of surveyed design professionals reported that technology is either "very important" or "important" to their clients. In contrast, only 7% said that technology is "not very important" (see Graph 2). Closely tied to this conclusion is RICKI's finding that a signif- icant percentage of today's kitchen and bath clients are expressing interest in products – including cooking, lighting, storage and home automation – that incorporate new forms of technology. According to survey respondents, technology tools are most frequently used in the areas of project drawings or designs (71.1% of surveyed design pros), product ordering (62%), sales or marketing (55.6%) and client presentations (50%). Some 45% of those surveyed say they use technology for other inter- nal business functions, such as accounting (see Graph 3). Kitchen and bath design professionals are also active when it comes to visiting industry-related websites, including those of Source: Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) 1 TECHNOLOGY TOOLS MOST COMMONLY USED BY KITCHEN & BATH DESIGN PROS 82.7% 77.1% 68.7% 67.3% 62.7% 52.5% 45.8% 36.3% 33.1% 31.0% 27.8% 15.8% 12.0% 6.3% 2.5% 0.7% Smart Phone Company Website Laptop Computer Design Software Social Media Tablet Cloud-Based Storage Contact/Email Mgt. Software Blogs/Forums Business/Design Apps HDTV for Showing Video Online Advertising Virtual or Augmented Reality Business Mgt./ Ordering Software Information Kiosks None of the Above Important Somewhat Important Very Important 2 IMPORTANCE OF TECHNOLOGY TO KITCHEN & BATH CLIENTS Source: Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) Not Very Important 7.1% 37.5% 21.8% 33.6% A May 2018 • KitchenBathDesign.com 49 SURVEY

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