With the global pandemic situation of 2020 extending into 2021 and likely beyond, one of the many and major knock-on effects is an increase in pricing from products imported from China. Basically put, shipping goods from the Far East has now got far more expensive, with rates as much as 5 times what they were at the end of 2020.
The main driver for this has been a shortage of shipping containers being returned to China due to staff shortages during lockdowns and restrictions on movement between borders.
Demand for goods has increased massively with the trends for PPE, online shopping, and time to spend on leisure activities and home improvements, so the need for shipping services certainly has not diminished.
However, many shipping companies furloughed staff to save costs due to uncertainty on how things would pan out and also mothballed their fleets of ships – sending demand for space soaring and driving costs up.
In addition, increased sales of products has also led to a shortage of some raw materials as well, exacerbating the issues facing many industries and retailers, including the flooring market.
Many of the products stocked at One Step Beyond Flooring originate from the Far East, with China being the largest manufacturer and global exporter of engineered wood flooring, laminate flooring and click vinyl flooring in the world.
Despite multiple increases to our cost base across all product lines and flooring materials, so far we have managed to absorb what we can to maintain our great value pricing, but the impacts are being felt in many ways.
For example, the price for oils for the Bespoke Woodflooring range has increased across the board, and the demand for product has led to a shortage on herringbone engineered wood flooring never previously experienced – making this style of flooring even more desirable than it was six months ago, despite it already being the leading trend style in flooring for the past year.
The pressures on stock and pricing is not just coming from China either. Our range of laminate flooring is sourced from Europe and the added complication of Brexit has seen extra pressures on cost and availability on these products.
Despite the current market conditions, we remain optimistic and confident that prices and stocks of raw materials stock will stabilise and have many new launches planned over the coming months across several ranges to ensure we continue to provide only the best engineered flooring at the most competitive prices.