ASID COVID-19 Pulse Survey

In response to COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, interior design industry, business, and interior design professionals, ASID has been conducting pulse surveys (starting March 31, 2020) to identify issues interior design businesses and professionals are experiencing now.

This industry-wide survey was developed to assess the impact on current projects and business performance, identify challenges professionals are facing and gather insights for advancing the profession during this time.

The ASID COVID-19 Pulse Surveys are now closed.

Results from 2020-2021 Surveys

YEAR-IN-REVIEW: SURVEY TAKEAWAYS

We embody the positive impact of design.

We understand the importance of communication.

We have many skills in our “toolkit,” but we want to learn more for ourselves, our business and the profession.

We learn best form our peers.

*This page reports on the comprehensive results from 2020-2021. For statistical accuracy, results compare surveys that had included the project status question during the first six months of the ASID COVID-19 Pulse Surveys (Phase #1: April 14, June 23, July 28, August 25, 2020) and the following six months (Phase #2: October 6, 2020, January 5, and April 7, 2021).

What is your current level of concern related to the impact of COVID-19 on your professional life?

Level of concern

Concerns still exist within the interior design profession in 2021, but they have fallen continuously over the course of the ASID COVID-19 Pulse Survey. This decrease is significant when comparing between the first six months of the pandemic and the following six months. The average level of concern decreased from 3.81 (Phase #1) to 3.14 (Phase #2). The highest percentage category for Phase #1 was ‘5- High concern’ while it was ‘3’ for Phase #2.

What are your top 3 concerns with respect to COVID-19?

Designer concerns

Phase #1

  1. Business development (i.e., new projects)
  2. Client engagement
  3. Product Availability

Phase #2

  1. Procurement/Delivery process and timeline
  1. Product Availability
  2. Business Development (i.e., new projects)
MANUFACTURER/RETAILER CONCERNS

Phase #1

  1. Business development (i.e., new projects)
  2. Client/Industry engagement
  3. Engagement & Morale

Phase #2

  1. Client/Industry engagement
  2. Business development (i.e., new projects)
  3. Product availability (supply chain)

Designers appear to have fluctuating concerns, while manufacturers/retailers have roughly maintained the same ones. During Phase #1, top concerns for designers were related to their business. As time progressed, designers’ concerns shifted towards their projects as shown by the difference in the order of top concerns. Client/Industry engagement and business development have consistently been among the top concerns for manufacturers/retailers throughout the ASID COVID-19 Pulse Surveys-to-date.

What is the status of your current projects?

*In progress option included in surveys prior to July 28, 2020 was deleted to add clarity on project status. Comparisons to these surveys should combine "In Progress" and "On Track" for a high-level view. Phase 1: inner pie chart, Phase 2: outer pie chart

Having projects has not been an issue for designers, but moving them forward has. The biggest shift in project status occurred between ‘On Hold’ and ‘Delayed,’ which relates back to the designers’ top concerns. The percentage of respondents that indicated ‘No current projects’ has been consistently low when comparing Phase #1 to Phase #2, suggesting that interior design has been considered essential services during the pandemic.

Compared to a month ago, how has work changed for you?

Changes in work

Work conditions have stabilized after volatile changes reported at the start of the pandemic (check out the March 31, 2020 survey). Interior design professionals were quick to adjust to changes in work, as seen in the average percentages for Phase #1: ‘1-No Impact’ was the highest percentage category but ‘5-Significant impact’ still lingered with close to one-fifth of respondents. Full adjustment was validated in Phase #2: ‘1- No Impact’ increased close to half of respondents and ‘5- Significant impact’ was the least prevalent.

If COVID-19 were to end today, how long would you estimate it would take for your company to get back to business performance of February 2020 (prior to widespread COVID-19 impact)?

Recovery time

Respondents have been optimistic throughout the pandemic in how long it would take their business to return to pre-pandemic levels. Over half of respondents during Phase #1 indicated a recovery time of less than three months. *With the introduction of ‘Already Recovered’ as an option for the last two surveys (January 5, 2021 & April 7, 2021), this has become the highest percentage category selected by respondents for Phase #2. Nevertheless, the median (1-3 months) has remained constant.

Residential designers and commercial designers both reported decreased estimates for recovery when comparing Phase #1 and Phase #2. On average, residential designers indicated shorter recovery periods than commercial designers for both time frames.

2021 ASID VIRTUAL CONFERENCE - ASID COVID-19 PULSE SURVEY: YEAR IN REVIEW

Break-out Session Results

We presented a year-in-review of the ASID COVID-19 Pulse Survey at the 2021 ASID Virtual Conference. This program featured an interactive session with attendees connecting with one another in virtual break-out rooms where they could share their experiences and solve business problems together.

Discussion focused on examples and lessons of resilience. The pandemic provided the opportunity to push boundaries, learn new technologies and resources, and pivot services to sustain. We realized the importance of human connection in the physical realm and the value of problem solving through design. Here are some insights from the attendees:

"I am an educator who has been teaching on-line during the pandemic and started conducting some projects from home. This required me to use technology in a virtual setting that I would normally have used in an office."

"I am a designer who lost my job at the beginning of the pandemic but, I was able to rely on the 20 years of experience that I have to pivot to residential design services."

"It is important to connect with people through mentorship, networking and other opportunities from those outside of the office."

"I realized how much I really miss seeing other designers' work and getting to know them."

"Thinking about how the spaces we design can function in multiple ways in the home added resiliency in our projects."

Summary

Respondents exemplified resilient characteristics throughout the pandemic based on cumulative findings from this survey, whether it be how quickly they adapted to the changing work environment or how optimistic they were on the potential recovery time. We need to maintain the desire for continuing education and learning as core to what we do as this will not be the last disruption. It is critical to carry on advocating the value of design because it will not only benefit the profession, but ultimately our clients. Due to COVID-19, we have been given an opportunity as interior designers to showcase how we can positively impact the health, safety and welfare of society.

Survey Respondents

A total of 1,202 responses from designers (76% of responses were from business owners) and 165 from employees of manufacturers and retailers were collected from 7 surveys used in this ASID COVID-19 Pulse Survey 2021-2022 Review analysis. Respondents closely represent the industry when comparing interior designer characteristics reported of the population by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; however, they slightly over-represent the South and under-represent the Northeast and the West. Total survey respondents over-represent small firms (i.e., self-employed and firms with less than 10 employees).

Regional distribution
Census Region ASID Pulse Survey Interior Design Population
Phase #1 Phase #2
Midwest 22% 22% 22%
Northeast 15% 16% 18%
South 41% 37% 32%
West 22% 25% 27%
Total 100% 100%
Firm size
Number of Employees ASID Pulse Survey Interior Design Population
Phase #1 Phase #2
Self-employed 45% 41% 54%
2-9 employee firm 36% 39%
10-99 employee firm 12% 13% 32%
100+ employee firm 7% 7% 14%
Total 100% 100%
Years of experience
Number of Years ASID Pulse Survey
Phase #1 Phase #2
0-5 years 11% 7%
6-10 years 8% 12%
11-20 years 23% 22%
21-30 years 20% 20%
31-40 years 25% 21%
40+ years 13% 18%
Total 100%
Practice area
Space Type ASID Pulse Survey
Phase #1 Phase #2
Education (K-12, Higher Ed) 5% 5%
Government 3% 5%
Healthcare & Senior/Assisted Living 11% 12%
Hospitality 8% 7%
Multi-family residential 9% 10%
Office/Branded environments 15% 17%
Retail & Entertainment 6% 4%
Single-family residential
(incl. Kitchen & Bath)
43% 40%
Total 100%