Current business conditions at interior design firms appear steady as scores remain over 50 for the most part, indicating revenue growth, and the outlook remains optimistic. While firms are in expansionary territory, panelists continue to report a moderation in business conditions for design services compared to months in the late spring and summer 2017. The November IDBI index score was 54.5, essentially unchanged compared to the previous month. The business inquiries index, which tracks potential work, moved up from a score of 52.7 in October to 53.9 in November. Both indices were on target with their three-month moving average.
The Midwest region registered an IDBI score of 69; the South 59; and the West 56. The Northeast region was alone in reporting an IDBI score below 50 at 42.0.
In the new year, several data points provide a positive outlook for design and construction spending. Panelists’ expectations over the next six-months are strengthening as the ASID outlook index jumped 6.3 points to a score of 62.3 in November. This view is consistent with the November Dodge Momentum index, which grew a healthy 13.9 percent to a reading of 149.5, and the November Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence expectations index that gained 4.3 points to a score of 113.3.
This month’s special question asked our survey panelists: “Which business and economic trends are you following in anticipation of the new year?” Interior designers are following housing shortages (29%), tax reform (28%), and the construction outlook (21%).