The architectural woodwork industry should experience improved operating margins in 2017 and into 2018 as business in the commercial and residential markets continues to show signs of strengthening, according to recent surveys by the Architectural Woodwork Institute and American Institute of Architects.

The same looks to hold true for custom woodworkers of cabinets and casegoods. In a recent FDMC/CMA Benchmark survey, 62% of respondents predicted their 2017 sales would be better than 2016, while 34% expected sales would be equal to last year. While investments in technology will help improve the productivity and profitability of these small- to mid-size shops, challenges remain, particularly in regard to a good labor supply.

Click to enlarge the infographic, plus find more market data in December's FDMC Wood Industry Almanac

Quick Stats
Firms specializing in commercial/industrial projects continue to report strong billings (54.0), slightly ahead of institutional (51.0) and residential (51.0), according to the AIA’s Architectural Billing Index. An index score above 50 indicates growth.

93.4% of small custom shops use websites and social media to market their products, according to the CMA’s 2017 Benchmark survey. Yet while these methods bring in sales, 92.5% said they get business from both word of mouth/referrals and repeat clients.

How’s business? The FDMC/CMA’s Benchmark survey showed 62.4% predict 2017 sales will be better than 2016, with 33.6% saying “same” and 4.1% worse.

New North American Architectural Woodwork Standards went into effect July 1, 2017, in Canada. They were developed by the Woodwork Institute in conjunction with the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada.

According to the AIA’s Q2 Home Design Trends Survey multi-generational living options are growing in popularity, up slightly from last year, as the general population ages and families move in together. Related to that is the continued popularity of first floor master bedrooms and multiple laundry rooms.

The remodeling sector continues to be a big draw for architectures and their work, particularly home additions and kitchen/bath projects, according the AIA’s Q1 Home Design Trends Survey.

Market Data Sources: Architectural Woodwork Institute, The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Statista, U.S. Census Bureau, Cabinet Makers Assn. (CMA), FDMC, Woodwork Institute, Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada

Category: Architectural & Custom: commercial & residential interior millwork, casework, furniture & cabinetry.