The attacks on 9-11 forever changed how we look at security. The 2008 economic collapse forever changed how we look at finances. And the 2020 pandemic will forever change how we look at hygiene.
Amanda Schneider, founder of ThinkLab, the market research division of Interior Design and a SANDOW® brand, told attendees of IFAI Virtual Expo 2020 that the intensity of the moment will fade, but the pandemic will likely drive permanent cultural change.
“We’re getting asked questions like, ‘Are fabrics going to go away?’ ‘Is everything going to hard surface?’ I don’t see that happening,” she said. “But I do think we will never look at hygiene the same way again. And I think there are some new opportunities opening up for those who want to figure out where this is going to go. A lot of times, recessions really give us opportunities for innovation.”
Speaking in a Sunbrella®-sponsored session, “The past, the present and future of design,” Schneider guided attendees through a review of market data for interior design to offer a perspective that can help them build their business.
“I’m a firm believer that the right data really does give us insight to our future and where we might be headed,” she said.
According to Schneider, the average designer has around 12.5 times as much specification power as the average American has buying power, and if you get into the top 200 “giants of design,” that can be as much as 85 times.
“Even if you’re not directly calling on those in the design community, it can be a window into your future that can help you be planful about what is to come.”
Schneider told attendees to focus their way out of chaos, whether they are on the side of the economy that has come to a halt because of the pandemic, or on the side of the economy that has become so busy that it is struggling to find enough labor.
“How can you really look at all of this chaos that’s happening? Where can you best focus? And where is your best play? I think one of the benefits right now is that people are more open minded to change than ever before. This is our opportunity to take all those little things that maybe frustrated us, like ‘Why the heck would we do things this way?’ and help to create the next normal that we all want to be a part of.”
Registration for IFAI Virtual Expo 2020 is open through Nov. 12. All Expo sessions will be posted on the Virtual Expo platform for viewing during Expo and for 30 days after Expo has concluded.