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ISFA Industry Outlook Predicts Growth in 2016

Posted on 26 April 2016 by cradmin

ISFA Outlook article grabThe International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) published its annual Countertop Industry Outlook for 2016 in its magazine Countertops & Architectural Surfaces. The ISFA forecast is the only one of its kind in a print publication (although it can also be read online), taking into consideration that it is not specific to a single type of countertop material. The forecast is researched and written each year by the editor of the magazine, ISFA Communications Director Kevin Cole, who predicts fabricators and others involved in the countertop industry are “poised for another year of growth.”

This is expected to be the fourth consecutive year of growth in the countertop industry since the economy recovered from the recession that began to hit hard in 2008. According to the 2013 industry forecast, the economy was still a bit sluggish but was beginning to look up, and since that time, most industries and the economy in general has improved.

Because there are very few sources available that specifically focus on countertops, the ISFA Industry Outlook is based on data that supports countertop demand, which begins with the general economy and then looks more closely at allied areas, such as U.S. housing starts data, nonresidential building construction, home improvement product sales, remodeling predictions, cabinet sales and others. If you are not a member of ISFA or are not otherwise receiving their quarterly publication, we strongly suggest you subscribe online. Subscriptions are free to qualified individuals and organizations in the United States, at least at the current time.

ISFA’s industry forecast has been anchored for the last four years by the Countertops study conducted by The Freedonia Group. The latest report is 389 pages in length and forecasts the state of the countertop market through 2024. According to this report, demand for countertops is expected to increase by 4.2 percent annually through 2019, which values the industry at about $29.3 billion.

The Freedonia Group also expects the share of laminate countertops will fall in terms of square footage in comparison to other materials, yet continue to account for more than one-third of the market through 2019, and demand will rise by 3.4 percent per year through 2019.

Natural stone is predicted to make the largest gains as low-cost imports enter the market and prices continue to drop. However, the forecast for total annual sales by square footage has dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent for the next few years.

Also according to the report, solid surface will hold steady as the third most-popular countertop material in terms of square feet after natural stone with demand predicted to rise by 1.2 percent, and engineered stone holds the fourth spot and is expected to grow by 5.8 percent. The fifth spot is occupied by the generic cast polymers category, and it is expected to increase by 1.3 percent.

Tile follows cast polymers in expected popularity, and the segment is expected to increase each year over the next several years. Finally, the forecast shows the Other Materials category, which includes concrete, metal recycled materials and pretty much everything else will increase by 10.1 percent through 2019.

This year, the 238-page “2015 Natural and Manufactured Stone Product Industry Report” published by Catalina Research in December 2015 complements the Freedonia report. According to Catalina Research, natural stone ruled the countertop market in terms of dollars (versus square feet, which is what Freedonia uses as a gauge, with 43 percent of the share in 2015 while laminate was at 18 percent and engineered stone at about 16 percent.

When it comes to residential construction, housing starts have increased by 10 percent at an estimated 1.1 million after breaking the million-unit mark in 2014, and starts for multifamily dwellings have increased by 15 percent since 2006. However, starts for single-family homes are less than half they were at the peak of the housing boom.

Another resource used for the ISFA forecast is the latest Construction Outlook from FMI, a leading investment banking and consultancy firm for the construction industry. Highlights of this edition, which focuses on non-residential construction, are as follows:

  • Four out of five non-residential construction categories have grown for five years straight.
  • Growth in lodging is centered on upscale properties, and green construction is becoming more common.
  • Office construction has increased by 19 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • Food service and beverage establishments are the fastest growing segment in commercial construction.
  • Construction of healthcare facilities continues to remain in flux with most work going toward renovations and additions.
  • Increased attention to green building technologies will be apparent in the academic sector.

All in all, the 2016 ISFA Countertop Forecast provides a pretty in-depth and solid reasoning with substantial evidence for its positive outlook for the industry.

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