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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 March 29-30, 2022 Survey

Key Findings

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.

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

Level of concern

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

Designer concerns
  1. Product availability: 65% (April 7, 2021 survey: 62%, first top concern)
  2. Procurement/Delivery process and timelines: 60% (April 7, 2021 survey: 52%, second top concern)
  3. Project timelines: 36% (April 7, 2021 survey: 33%, third top concern)
MANUFACTURER/RETAILER CONCERNS
  1. Product availability (supply chain): 69% (April 7, 2021 survey: 48%, third top concern)
  2. Employee (retention): 50% (April 7, 2021 survey: 8%, tied-seventh top concern)
  3. Client/Industry engagement: 38% (April 7, 2021 survey: 63%, first top concern)
  4. Procurement/Delivery process timelines: 38% (April 7, 2021 survey: 33%, fourth top concern)

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."

What is the status of your current projects?

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.

Compared to a year ago (late-March), how has work changed for you?

Changes in work

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.

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

*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.

LESSONS LEARNED

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?"

Firm/Business
  • Virtual Work: It was a huge positive for the industry, as it helped increase efficiency, saved money and time, and allowed companies to extend their reach by finding new clients outside their immediate geographic footprint.
  • Planning, Planning, Planning: Whether it was finances, supply chains, strategic, or project management, planning became vitally important to a company’s success.
  • Patience is a Virtue: Many things were outside of one’s control over the last two years, but how it was handled spoke volumes to clients experiencing similar issues.
  • Flexibility & Adaptability: Whether it was with products/materials and/or project timelines, firms with these characteristics created more value for clients by doing work in different ways.
  • Communication Skills: They were essential traits prior to the pandemic, but their importance increased even further for both designers and companies as more individuals began working virtually.
  • Power of Design: Given the reliance on interiors across all sectors, designers had an opportunity to showcase how much design impacts lives.
"Need to be able to react quickly and thoughtfully to help clients when they have a need. Often need to think outside the box and look to solve solutions in a completely different way than we have in the past."
Personally
  • Carpe Diem: We do not know what is around the corner, so it is important for designers to seize the day and enjoy it as much as possible.
  • Designers are Resilient: When thinking through all the challenges that one has faced in the past two years, it is impressive how much designers have handled, learned, and thrived.
  • Power of a Team: No one can do everything on their own, especially during lockdowns, so having a reliable team and network has eased stressors to a large extent.
  • Time for Introspection: When things were both slow and chaotic, thinking about priorities and discovering what is important helped guide designers’ decision-making processes.
  • Work/Life Balance: Burnout was real, so taking a moment to slow down and “smell the roses,” along with setting boundaries, is especially key while working virtually.
  • Importance of Health: Whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally, addressing one’s own needs first is vital for success, both personally and professionally.
"It was a time to reflect on the past and be very aware of the present in order to move forward."

Survey Respondents

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.

Regional distribution
Census Region ASID Pulse Survey Interior Design Population
March 29 April 7
Midwest 27% 21% 22%
Northeast 22% 18% 18%
South 31% 37% 32%
West 20% 24% 27%
Total 100% 100%
Firm size
Number of Employees ASID Pulse Survey Interior Design Population
March 29 April 7
Self-employed 48% 41% 54%
2-9 employee firm 27% 35%
10-99 employee firm 21% 17% 32%
100+ employee firm 4% 7% 14%
Total 100% 100%
Years of experience
Number of Years ASID Pulse Survey
March 29 April 7
0-5 years 8% 10%
6-10 years 6% 14%
11-20 years 20% 20%
21-30 years 19% 20%
31-40 years 29% 20%
40+ years 18% 16%
Total 100%
Practice area
Space Type ASID Pulse Survey
March 29 April 7
Education (K-12, Higher Ed) 6% 5%
Government 5% 4%
Healthcare & Senior/Assisted Living 11% 12%
Hospitality 5% 7%
Multi-family residential 8% 11%
Office/Branded environments 19% 18%
Retail & Entertainment 9% 4%
Single-family residential
(incl. Kitchen & Bath)
37% 39%
Total 100%