ASID Billings Index Shows Design Industry Momentum to Start 2016

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) released the fourth quarter Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) on February 18, 2016. Overall, business conditions in 2015 were healthy and supportive of the design industry, building on momentum from the previous year. The average IDBI score of 57.2 was identical to its 2014 figure. The ASID indices are centered on a score of 50; above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 indicates contraction. In addition, project inquiries scores continue to remain high, with an average of 60.7, slightly below 62.7 posted in 2014. Key drivers to the continued growth across the interior design industry included renewed growth in housing and construction activity.

“All indicators signal that the demand for design industry services should maintain momentum into 2016 as economic and labor markets continue to advance,” said Jack Kleinhenz, ASID economist. “I’m not overly concerned about the recent contractionary readings, as their overall trend remains in expansionary territory. Nevertheless, construction spending will continue to show fits and starts, and some backpedaling is probable to show up in the cards.”

Demand for interior design services softer in December

Design firms experienced a modest downturn in December across all sizes of firms compared to September. December IDBI billings show contraction across all sizes of firms since September, with the exception of firms employing 10 to 24 people (IDBI score of 60). During 2015, both sole proprietors and firms employing 2 to 9 people experiences mild volatility in demand but were in expansionary territory. New positive indicators for January suggest that December’s soft demand is temporary.

 Business conditions vary across regions

All regions indicated business conditions had weakened at the close of the year. The South and Midwest regions reported IDBI scores of 41 and 47, a decline in month-over-month billings. Both regions spent the past 12 months with positive IDBI scores above 50. The Northeast, after enjoying strong second and third quarters, stayed above an IDBI of 50 until December, when it dipped to 46. The West ended the year with a fourth quarter average of 45, down from its third quarter IDBI average of 52.

Construction spending continues to rebound

Total construction spending for November was .4 percent lower than October, but 10.5 percent higher than in November 2014. Private construction, both residential and commercial, was the driver of 2015 growth. Spending on private residential structures, particularly excluding home improvement, was a consistent performer, where single-family and multi-family spending have been upbeat.

Six month outlook – stronger business conditions expected

Looking forward, the design industry remains positive about its near-term outlook. The December six-month business conditions index score of 68 is a slight uptick from the September score of 66, indicating expected increases in billing. The consistency of these scores suggests continued expansion for the design industry.

Download the full fourth quarter ASID Interior Design Billings Index Report.

 About the ASID Interior Design Billings Index
The IDBI is produced by ASID Research, under the leadership of ASID Vice President of Research and Knowledge Management David Krantz in partnership with Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., and Russ Smith, Ph.D., both of Kleinhenz & Associates. The index, which was begun in November 2010, is a diffusion index compiled from a monthly ASID survey of 300 geographically diverse firms that primarily offer interior design services or offer interior design services as part of architectural, engineering, and other related practices. Resulting perspectives on current and future business conditions for the interior design industry are helpful indicators of changes in the direction of economic activity. The ASID indices are centered on a score of 50 (above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction).

About ASID Research
ASID Research provides the design industry with regular data, studies, and reports offering insight and analysis on the state of the industry and practice. Established to educate the design industry on the status of its health and the impact of design on the way we work, live, and play, ASID Research offers quantitative and qualitative knowledge of the industry. Our goal is to provide observations, vision, and compilations that inspire and inform. Outcomes include the monthly ASID Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI), the ASID Industry Outlook report, third-party collaborations, and educational grants.

About ASID
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the full range of the interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks, and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional, and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations around topics that matter: from evidence-based and human-centric design to social responsibility, well-being, and sustainability. We showcase the impact of design on the human experience and the value interior designers provide.

ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal. Learn more at