A number of commentators have suggested the era of McMansions is over. A new survey of the American members of the International Furnishings and Design Association agrees with this prediction. Here are some of the findings:
-Americans will be living in smaller spaces with fewer rooms by the year 2020, say more than 76% of IFDA members. Eleven years ago, only 49% foresaw less living space in our future…
-Separate rooms are disappearing; they are blending into spaces that serve many different purposes, believe 91.5% of the design experts – which is exactly what they foresaw back in 2000.
-Furniture also is going multipurpose, say 67.5% of the the IFDA forecasters. They see modular, moveable, and smaller-scaled furniture overtaking built-ins and big pieces. There will be more interest in ergonomic designs – designed to fit the human body – but almost none in furniture designed to be disposable…
-Everyone’s working at home. A home office is a given, say more than three-quarters of the respondents, but here’s the news: Nearly 40% of the forecasters see more than one home office under every roof…
In summary: leaders in the furnishings and design field think that Americans will be living in smaller, more multipurpose spaces.
Several questions regarding these survey findings:
1. How much do those surveyed get to set and sell these product changes in the years to come?
2. If the economy improves dramatically in the next few years, are all these predictions moot?
3. How long before these predictions and ideas become the norm set before average Americans in places like furniture showrooms or on HGTV?
4. What do you do with previous findings of the survey?
a. For example, in 2000, roughly half surveyed thought Americans would be living in smaller spaces. The actual Census numbers about new single-family homes: on average, they were 2,266 square feet, 2,438 square feet in 2009, and 2,392 square feet in 2010. This is still a net gain over most of the decade with a dip between 2008 and 2010. So half of those surveyed in 2000 were wrong?
b. The predictions about the drop in separate rooms were the same now as in 2000. Were they right?
c. If those surveyed can be wrong, what does it mean? Do their companies/firms lose money because they mispredicted the future? Is it really difficult to predict the directions in this particular field and anticipate what the American consumer wants?