Despite the severe downturn in the housing market that began in 2007, construction-related uses collectively remain the largest source of demand for appearance-grade hardwood lumber in the United States. Therefore, industry practitioners and researchers alike maintain an interest in housing and construction trends. This study investigated market conditions from the perspective of secondary woodworkers via 4 years of data from subscribers to "Wood & Wood Products" (now named "Wood Products") magazine. The series began in February 2010 (for the year 2009) and surveys were conducted in February/March 2011, 2012, and 2013. Year-over-year sales volume consistently improved for responding companies, with 58 percent of companies reporting an increase in sales from 2011 to 2012. However, this trend corresponded with a decline in the overall number of companies in operation. The residential remodeling market became more important to secondary manufacturers after 2009 as production associated with new construction declined. Overall economic conditions and development of new products were rated as factors that had helped companies increase sales during the period. The housing market, remodeling expenditures, offshore competition, and entry of domestic competitors all were rated as causes of sales declines during the period. As most companies pursued both cost reduction and revenue-seeking strategies to weather the housing downturn, referrals and following up on leads were rated by respondents as the most frequently used types of marketing communications; referrals were especially important for smaller firms.
Bumgardner, Matthew S.; Buehlmann, Urs; Schuler, Albert T.; Koenig, Karen M. 2014. Impacts of construction markets on firm performance and behaviors in the secondary woodworking industry, 2010-2013. In: Groninger, John W.; Holzmueller, Eric J.; Nielsen, Clayton K.; Dey, Daniel C., eds. Proceedings, 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2014 March 10-12; Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 312-321.