Quick Takes on 2019 Design & Construction Week

  • Categories:

    Marketing Insights

  • Date:

    February 26, 2019

Quick Takes on 2019 Design & Construction Week

Marketing Insights

Last week, 16 Wray Ward team members joined 100,000-plus others from around the world for Design & Construction Week® in Las Vegas. This massive fusion of the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show® (IBS) and National Kitchen and Bath Association Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), spread across more than 1 million square feet of indoor and outdoor space, garnered its largest attendance in 10 years (BUILDER Online). From innovations and marketing insights to sights and sounds (desert snow, anyone?), the trip gave our team plenty to think about.

Here are some rapid-fire reflections on the heels of the residential design and construction industry’s largest annual show. So much for what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.


  • “The word ‘big’ comes to mind. Exhibitors certainly pulled out all the stops this year.”
  • “The show appeared to be well-attended, and many booths stayed busy all three days.”
  • “Front and center? Spectacular design and amazing products to make life easier for consumers and the trade.”
  • “I noticed a focus on healthy living throughout the show — from a workout equipment manufacturer that has exhibited for 47 years, to door and window clients trumpeting the benefits of fresh air and natural light, to wood products manufacturers working to create tighter, more energy-efficient homes.”
  • “Everything seems bigger and smarter. Lots of demos and speakers, larger screens, high-quality imagery and video, more technology and interactive displays.”
  • “User benefits — a consistent message at many booths for consumers and trade — sometimes in unexpected forms. Sherwin-Williams introduced paint cleaned by rain for commercial buildings and paint that will dry in one hour for residential projects. This kind of technology and R&D is useful for a contractor completing small jobs, because it eliminates the need to wait for a day for doors to dry.”
  • “The week served as a great showcase for innovation. Quikrete’s tiny house in a drainage pipe was really amazing.”
  • “Masonite’s row of Livingston doors in the 2019 color palette served as a beautiful showcase for inspiration.”
  • “One major theme? Product technology and innovation. Many booths showcased technology and the internet of (useful) things. It’s important to note that while technology will continue to become more prevalent in new products and homes, only useful innovation and technology will be adopted."

Seminars & Events

  • “Omnichannel is becoming more prevalent and nonlinear in all products. Information is everywhere, and brands must have message variations for each channel — with brand authenticity throughout — to connect with consumers.”
  • “The industry is becoming technology-driven and dependent on technology for innovation. Products are adopting technology first, and building processes must evolve quickly to alleviate labor shortage and cost concerns.”
  • “Labor shortage is a crucial topic, but outside of true ‘hammer-swinging’ labor, manufacturers need labor with new skills. New products are creating the need for coders, software engineers and other technology jobs, which also creates the need for technology-educated customer service reps and similar jobs to support the user experience consumers expect from brands today. The true challenge? Keeping up with the expectations of consumers who are comfortable with technology and have certain expectations for how it should make their lives better.”
  • “Companies are looking for ways to be first to market with new technology, even if it means partnering with, purchasing or investing in third-party businesses. For example, retailers and building material companies are partnering with and investing in startups focused on building efficiencies and processes. Organizations may not have the talent to develop a product, yet they need a way to innovate — whether internally or externally. For example, Ferguson Ventures, a venture capital fund established by Ferguson Enterprises, is investing in startups to fuel construction productivity. And Moen, our client, established four partnerships to introduce new products in 2018.”
  • “Organizations are beginning to understand they don’t have sole ownership of their brand. Instead, they collectively own the brand with customers and consumers, through all channels. Examples include ratings and reviews as well as consumers following and connecting to brands through visuals (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and words (Twitter, etc.)."

Sights and Sounds

  • “So, Vegas was freezing. Wednesday, we had a snowstorm, and the snow looked fantastic in the casino lights. Picture colors reflecting as high as you can see.”
  • “Some of the largest snowflakes I’ve ever seen.”
  • “Wow — that place was packed! Home and remodeling growth rates are expected to slow a little over the next couple years, but if the show is any indicator, the market is still extremely vital.”
  • “Pros of all ages, especially young people. It seems more young people are taking an interest in the craft, and that’s good news for the residential design and construction industry.”
  • “Bigger crowds. Lots of positive energy, excitement and buzz.”
  • “The clinking of glasses and the ooohs and ahhhs of travelers as they gazed at over-the-top hotel displays. Pianos playing in hotel lobbies. People bundling up in their jackets and scarves.”

Final Thoughts

  • “Despite all the amazing bells and whistles, relationships are still incredibly important in this industry.”
  • “An incredible show with lots of innovation. And yet … they still haven’t figured out how to make the show floor more comfortable.”

Did you go to IBS and/or KBIS this year? If so, we’d love to hear what you saw, heard, learned and did in the desert. Let us know on Twitter @WrayWard with the hashtag #WWinVegas.

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