I arrived at the airport earlier than I needed to this morning to catch my flight to Portland Oregon for the International Mass Timber Conference.
Since I had about an hour and a half before my flight departed, I decided to check in with a half dozen or so of my friends in China who combined supply thousands of containers per year of products to the US DIY markets. With all the nervousness in the housing market that we are seeing here regarding rapidly rising interest rates, I wanted to see how they were doing and how they were seeing things in the US home center markets from their perspective.
They all unanimously said that it was eerily quiet on the US customer side. Now is the time for preparing for the 2023 season and putting together proposals for next years business. One of them stated, “it feels like winter is coming”.
For those of you who are supplying the US home center markets, how are you seeing things for the rest of 2022 and into 2023? Are you sensing the caution that the Chinese producers and suppliers are seeing? Or are you seeing that due to the sky high shipping container rates that a lot of the newer production for home center business has moved from China back to the US and also into Mexico?
Last summer, with the temporary lifting of mask mandates across the country, we saw people give up their home improvement projects for trips to the beach as soon as kids got out of school. Will we see the same thing happen this summer? Will home center business take a pause again this year? Or will people pick up where they left off in 2020 and finish projects that they didn’t complete in 2021?