Healthy Construction Activity Spurs Demand for Countertops
Demand for countertops in the U.S. is forecast to increase 4.2% per year to 810 million sq ft in 2019, valued at $29.3 billion, according to a recent study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. Growth will be propelled by a rebound in new building construction activity, as well as increased spending on the improvement and repair of existing structures. Value gains will also receive a boost due to a shift in the product mix from laminates to higher priced alternative materials. The health of the residential market is critical to the countertop industry, as it typically accounts for about four-fifths of countertop demand.
Engineered stone, natural stone, and various niche materials are forecast to achieve above-average gains through 2019. Demand for tile is expected to see annual growth of 2.6% from 2014-2019. A drop in the average price for granite (partially due to an increase in low-cost imports) over the past decade has made this material available to a larger portion of the mass market. A moderate pricing structure and consumer preference for the appearance of stone will promote granite demand as home remodeling and new home construction increases.
“While the continued mainstreaming of the material bodes well for overall granite countertop sales, it also suggests that high-end homes, as well as businesses, are in the process of moving on to other, less commonly used surfaces,” said Pamela Safarek, analyst. “As a result, engineered stone, natural stones other than granite, and niche materials such as various metals, concrete, and recycled materials will benefit as high-end homeowners and business owners seek novel, higher-value materials to distinguish their countertops from the mass market.”
Laminates are the largest product type, although their share of the countertop market will continue to slide due to intense competitive pressure from alternative surfacing materials. Nevertheless, laminates will maintain a significant share of the countertop market and account for over one-third of additional sales through 2019. These materials remain popular, particularly for budget-conscious consumers. Product developments providing a more stone-like appearance, such as high-definition graphics and complex edges, will also help to limit the decline in market share.
For more information, visit www.freedoniagroup.com.