HOW CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING TILING PROJECTS IN AUSTRALIA
The coronavirus is unmissable in the news. Over the past two weeks, many of our tile supply partners and retail customers around Australia have asked us what this virus might mean for tiling projects in 2020 and beyond. Because so many have asked, and because we have a unique perspective on the pulse of the industry from both a manufacturing/supply side and customer/demand side, we wanted to address this subject as honestly and transparently as possible.
First things first
No one knows how long the coronavirus will be here. There are many uncertainties.One certainty though is the fact that the travel industry is taking a major hit right now. Simply put, people are traveling less. And when people are traveling less, this generally means one thing: More “staycations.” - instead of spending discretionary income on travel, flights or cruises, people are staying put and investing these funds into their home.
In many cases, this leads to increased construction, renovation and DIY projects. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “This makes sense, but if the economy is struggling badly, no one will have the money to renovate or build.”
But there is a realisation that is starting to settle in with respect to coronavirus—life must go on. We all still have mouths to feed, bills to pay, businesses to run, and lives to live. All of us. And once the initial uncertainty runs its course over the coming weeks, most will have a much clearer perspective on where things are, with the eventual outcome likely being one of two things:
- A cure or vaccine is rapidly developed to press pause on this craziness. Although highly likely in the long term, not super likely in the immediate term.
- We have a new normal way of life to adapt to in the short and medium term. New elevated awareness and health standards meaning we all wash our hands more and take precautions to practice social distancing as much as possible.
Based on what we’re currently seeing in the market, people are already looking ahead and recognizing that travel may not be on the cards over the next year, which means a shift in spending. For example, we’ve had a few customers this week tell us they won’t be going on an international holiday this year as a family regardless of when international travel restrictions lift given the conditions in the rest of the world, and instead are going to do a renovation of their home.
We expect many, many more families and individuals will be thinking the same thing in the coming months.
In a perfect world, the travel industry continues to boom, the tile (construction) industry thrives, and the world economy is strong. Unfortunately, that is not where we find ourselves today. Although we don’t currently expect the coronavirus to lead to a crippling recession like the great depression, let us keep in mind that it was because of that recession that many innovations and improvements were made.
For us at TileCloud, it has become an opportunity to review everything about the business, leading us to further tighten our operation and reduce unnecessary spending on ‘non-essential’ business activities.
So if you’re in the tile industry (or anyone in the construction industry for that matter) and you’re feeling stressed about what lies ahead, let us commit to channelling our energy into the following:
- Making our customers happier and more delighted than they’ve ever been.
- Trimming the excess fat off our business.
- Focusing every day on learning and education—be it sales, marketing, customer experience, etc.
- Listening to our customers better than we ever have—making them our entire focus—and spending less energy on things that can distract from this.
- Mastering our trade by working on the little things and skills that add up to so much in the long run.
- Improving our business model overall to make it the best it can possibly be.
Are the months ahead going to be rocky?
Sure, they could be, but it’s still too early to tell.
But this much we do know—we all have a chance to lean in, double-down, and seriously improve because of it.
So let’s do that.
And while many of our peers are busy watching the news cycle 24/7 and at a standstill, we are readying for the marketplace to come back roaring—as it assuredly will.