The ASID Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI), a key billings indicator for interior design firms and the profession, dipped in July to a score of 49.6. While an index score of 50 indicates firms saw no increase or decline in business activity, this is the fourth consecutive month of lower scores since the IDBI reached its highest score, 60.8, in over two years. Many panelists note that tariffs have increased prices and created uncertainty around the pricing of materials. The three-month moving average also slowed to a score of 51.5 in July compared to a score of 53.3 in June.
The July new projects inquiry index was at 51.4, a decline from 53.4 in the previous month; its three-month moving average remains elevated at 52.5. However, several panelists reported that colleagues are “not having calls and new projects” which reflects the six-month expectations index dipping to 46.5, the lowest level recorded since the survey began in November 2010.
While all regions indicate positive business conditions with scores above 50, the scores are either lower than the previous month or remain unchanged from June. Firms in the Midwest region recorded a score of 55.5, lower than June’s 61.2. Firms in the Northeast posted a score of 51.2, a decrease from 55.6 in the previous month. The South and West were essentially unchanged for July compared to the previous month at 51.5 and 51.4, respectively.
This month’s special questions asked our survey panelists if new building construction in their firms’ area impacted project inquiries in a significant way. The same questions were asked the last two years. One in four interior designers (23 percent) said that new building construction had impacted their firm in a positive way, down notably from 2017 when a positive impact was nearly 40 percent. The view that the impact of new construction is negative has grown from 3 percent in 2017 to 13 percent in 2019.