The Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) inched up slightly in March after its strong rebound in February. Firms reported continued gains in revenues for the month as the IDBI score increased from 61.5 to 62.8. The March index was above its three-month moving average score of 59 indicating ongoing momentum and positive business conditions. Meanwhile, the ASID business inquiries index, which tracks potential work, shifted down from a score of 62.2 to a reading of 58.0 for March. While design firms across all regions showed billing growth in March with scores of 50 or more, firms in the West region showed no improvement over February’s scores.
The outlook for interior design firms remains positive in March, although the six-month index fell off by 3.5 points to a score of 63.4. February’s outlook index score of 67.9 hit its highest level since December 2015. All in all, current business conditions at design firms appears steady and the outlook remains optimistic. Interestingly, the ASID survey results for March are consistent with other consumer and business sentiment measures.
This month’s special question asked our survey panelists about the impact of macroeconomic factors on their design work. Of the survey respondents, 80 percent indicated that the national economy had a high or very high impact on their design work. Generational trends (i.e. Baby Boomers, GenXers, Millenials) followed in impact with 69 percent. Environmental concerns, labor shortages, and technological advances were notable but not as significant to respondents’ design work.