Consumption increased by a good +14% compared to the previous year (2021) when the total had already risen by +10.6%
Like the natural stone sector worldwide, Germany’s stone companies have come through the third year of the pandemic well: consumption of natural stone rose by a strong +14.4% year-on-year to €755 million in 2022. In the second Covid year (2021), it had already gone up by +10.6% to €677.6 million. The reason for this was related to the pandemic (even without a lockdown, which had not been imposed in Germany): citizens had learned to appreciate their home while working from the home office, and the money they could not spend on travel, clothing or culture was invested into furnishing their houses, apartments, and gardens.
To put it bluntly: this boom in demand will not continue in 2023, but we expect consumption to return to the usual annual increases of around +6%. At the general meeting of the German Ornamental Stone Association (DNV), where the statistics were also presented, such assessments were heard from company representatives.
However, there is probably no need to fear a decline in natural stone consumption: in Germany, the interest in sustainable products is very high and the well-to-do-citizens not only talk about it but are really prepared to spend money on such products.
In addition, the association is having success with its “Future Natural Stone“ Internet campaign, which promotes its materials for sustainable construction.
For several decades now, Germany has been one of those countries in which domestic production of natural stone lags far behind consumption. Similar markets are Great Britain, the USA, Mexico or Japan, and Korea, to name but a few.
However, something seems to be happening with domestic production in Germany: while consumption increased by +14.4%, the output of German companies also achieved a significant increase, by almost the same amount, +12%. We had already indicated in last year’s report that companies are in the process of ramping up their capacities.
A limit to growth is currently drawn here by the severe shortage of skilled personnel and resistance among the population to new quarries or expansions in their vicinity.
As for the exports of German stone companies, the association cautiously describes them as “very small compared to imports“: the sum of €86 million was indeed not lavish. By tonnage, exports actually fell by (-)12.9% year-on-year but rose by +4.2% by value. Germany has only about a handful of stone companies active internationally, but they do so at the highest technical level.
As they are also active domestically, it is very difficult for foreign suppliers to win bids for attractive architectural projects.
However, some companies, especially from Italy, show that it can be done.
German Natural Stone Association, DNV (German)
(04.08.2023, USA: 08.04.2023)