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.
We embody the value of design in everything we do.
We understand the connection that occupants have with their spaces.
We embrace change head-on as we navigate through new ways of working.
We learn lessons and apply them to our projects.
The average concern for the impact of COVID-19 on the interior design profession continued to decrease, with the overall average falling to 2.51 from this time last year (2.88), which is the lowest average in the history of the Pulse Survey. Both designers and manufacturer/retailers cited current challenges with product availability as their top concern. In comparison to the April 2021 survey, the top three concerns among designers have not changed, but the magnitude of all three are higher in percentage terms, indicating that the concerns are more prevalent now. However, for manufacturers/retailers, employee retention has increased more than six-fold, providing some evidence that the interior design profession is not immune to the "Great Resignation."
Project delays persist. The percentage of projects delayed increased, reaching their highest percentage since August 2020 (58%). However, the percentage of projects on hold and those without any current projects remains relatively low, accounting for less than ten percent of respondents.
* "In Progress" option included in surveys prior to July 28 was deleted to add clarity on project status. Comparisons to these surveys should combine "Delayed", "In Progress", and "On Track" for a high-level view.
Almost 75% are experiencing some level of change in their work. Those citing significant impacts and changes is at its highest level since May 2020, increasing four percentage points. Not surprisingly, with companies welcoming employees and visitors back into their physical locations, only 26% cite no change in their work.
*N/A- No change in business performance option was added to this question for the March 29, 2022 survey
Recovery time provided a window into the unequal nature of the “return to normal” process for the profession. Almost half of respondents (45%) indicated that their business has already recovered or had no change in business performance compared to their previous pandemic levels. Yet, almost 25% state that their recovery will take at least until the end of 2022. An interesting inflection point occurred when asked about the recovery time for the profession, roughly half of the respondents indicated the profession has recovered or will do so within the year while the other half state that it will be at least another year until full recovery.
To gain further insight into how designers have handled the last two years, the survey asked respondents "what lessons have you learned during the COVID-19 pandemic relating to 1) your firm/business and 2) you personally?"
102 designers (78% business owners) and 16 employees of manufacturers and retailers participated in this survey. Respondents closely represent the industry, when comparing interior designer characteristics reported of the population by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; however, these results slightly over-represent the Midwest & Northeast and under-represent the West. Survey respondents continue to over-represent self-employed and small firms (i.e., less than 10 employees).
Compared to the last survey conducted April 2021, responses in this survey had a larger proportion of self-employed firms, with a decreased response rate from small firms (2-9 employees), while medium firms (10-99 employees) and large firms (more than 100 employees) maintained similar percentages. When analyzing years of experience, only two categories (6-10 years and 31-40 years) saw noticeable changes between surveys, causing the average to increase (2021: 24.5 years compared to 2022: 27.2 years). The Retail & Entertainment sector was the only primary area that saw any significant change.