Markets: stable demand for countertops in USA

Countertop(March 2008) A more or less stable demand in the USA for granite kitchen and bathroom countertops is predicted for the coming years. Experts from the business research company Freedonia Group forecast an anual increase of 1.3 percent until 2011. Comparing figures of 2006 and 2007, the national statistics indicate a 1.5 % down, as the february newsletter (pdf) of the Marble Institut of America (MIA) reports.

There is no doubt that the growth rates of the last ten yeas will not be reached in the near future. The MIA newsletter takes a look back: The demand index for granite countertops based on 100 in 1997, jumped to 715 in seven years, was 867 in 2005 and 1081 in 2006. But in the following 2007 it dropped to 1066 (semifinal).

As the Freedonia analists report, in the renovation market kitchen and bathroom remodeling expenditures will increase very slightly. This growth will be promoted by „continued consumer preferences for larger kitchens and more bathrooms“. For the new single unit home market they foresee „weakness“, due to falling prices and reduced new projects.

Until 2011 they forecast an annual demand of 540 million square feet. The largest share would be held by the kitchen countertops and a smaller part would go to bathrooms. In 2006, the remodeling segment accounted for 70 percent of volume sales.

„Countertops made from engineered and natural stone will experience the strongest gains through 2011“, say the Freedonia Experts. „Demand for engineered stone will benefit from its ability to combine the minimal porosity of solid surface with the heat and scratch resistance of quartz. Demand for natural stone will be aided by consumer interest in the luxury and style that granite and other stones offer. As the price of these materials declines, middle-income consumers will be able to afford them, further stimulating demand. Laminate countertops will continue to account for the largest share of countertop sales. Growth will be constrained by the rise of natural and engineered stone, as some consumers find laminates to be a low-end surfacing choice.“