Ceramic Industry

Ceramic Decorating: Decorators Project Modest Sales Increases in 2002

May 1, 2002
SGCD's 2001 decorating survey indicated that decorators faced economic problems that were similar to those faced by other manufacturing concerns nationwide.

Every year, the Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators (SGCD) conducts a State of the Decorating Industry Survey to track general trends in the decorating market. Results for 2001 indicated that decorators faced economic problems that were similar to those faced by other manufacturing concerns nationwide. These problems intensified for most companies after September 11. Many of the glass and ceramic decorators who completed the survey, however, predicted a modest recovery in 2002.

The SGCD survey provides a view of general trends in the glass and ceramic decorating industry but does not measure total sales volume. Due to the confidential nature of the survey, responses from large decorators were weighed equally with replies from small-volume companies.

Decorating Industry Results

In 2001, 32% of SGCD’s responding decorators and decorating industry suppliers reported that they had met budgeted sales goals for the year, while a further 18% reported that sales had exceeded budget expectations. The remaining 50%, however, reported that they had failed to reach budget for 2001, which is the highest figure since the survey was first conducted in 1996. In the 2000 survey, 66% of respondents had met or exceeded their sales budget predictions.

Survey results for 2001 indicated that decorators fared slightly better than the industry suppliers that provide equipment, colors, decals and other materials to those decorators. In the 2001 survey, 22% of decorators exceeded or greatly exceeded sales budget, 31% met budget and 47% fell below budget. In the 2000 survey, 23% of decorators exceeded or greatly exceeded their sales budget, 40% met budget and 37% fell below budget. Industry suppliers did not fare as well in 2001, with 10% reportedly exceeding budget, 30% meeting budget and 60% falling below budget.

Unlike previous years, when the majority of SGCD members noted that overall economic conditions were favorable, more decorators and suppliers were neutral or negative about the economy in 2001. However, when asked about their economic projections for 2002, 65% of decorators anticipated modest sales increases, 16% anticipated steady sales and 16% expected sales declines. A remaining 3% predicted greatly increased sales. Suppliers were similarly optimistic, with 50% forecasting a modest sales increase for 2002, 30% expecting steady sales and 20% predicting greatly increased sales.

Promotional Products Results

Survey respondents in the promotional products market reported results that were similar to overall trends in the decorating industry—45% reported sales below budget, 5% reported sales far below budget, 40% met budget and 10% exceeded budget. In 2000, 43% of respondents reported sales below budget, 48% met budget and 9% exceeded or greatly exceeded budget. Promotional product and souvenir decorators expressed optimism for 2002, with 50% predicting modest sales increases and 90% expecting to maintain current work force levels.

Figure 1. Tableware decorators’ 2001 sales results.

Tableware Results

Tableware decorators fared slightly better than promotional product and souvenir decorators in 2001, but a significant number of respondents did report sales below budget. In the survey, 34% of these decorators reportedly met budget; 22% exceeded budget; and 44% reported sales below budget (see Figure 1).

Decorators in this segment were also optimistic for 2002. According to HFN magazine, some upscale tableware manufacturers reported strong sales in fall 2001, with tableware retailers noting that some consumers are spending money on high-end tableware that might otherwise have been spent on travel or related luxury items before September 11.