A number of noteworthy trends have been presented in "Countertops," a new study from The Fredonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland, OH, industry research firm.

According to the study, U.S. demand for countertops is forecast to increase 2.4% percent annually to 760 million square feet in 2013. Growth will accelerate from the pace of the 2003-2008 period, prompted by a rebound in housing construction from the depressed 2008 level. While the residential remodeling segment will post below-average advances in demand through 2013, gains will be promoted by the large stock of homes requiring countertop replacement, as well as the desire of consumers to renovate their kitchens and bathrooms by installing larger-sized countertops. Countertops made from engineered and natural stone will experience the strongest gains through 2013. Consumers view these materials as durable, aesthetically pleasing surfaces that are highly resistant to scratches and extreme temperatures. Engineered stone (also referred to as quartz surfacing) will benefit from its resistance to biological contaminants and its resemblance to natural stone, while remaining impervious to moisture. Natural stone will benefit from consumer interest in the luxury and style that granite and other types of stones offer. Laminate countertops will continue to account for the largest share of countertop sales, although they are not generally categorized with natural stone, quartz surfacing and solid surface as a premium countertop material.

In 2008, the residential market accounted for three-quarters of overall countertop demand. The residential market will continue to drive countertop demand through 2013, reflecting the rebound in housing construction and continued consumer interest in installing high-value countertops. The nonresidential market is forecast to contract through 2013, as decreases in nonresidential construction spending will limit overall countertop demand. The best prospects for growth in the nonresidential countertop market will be the institutional segment, as medical and educational facilities install countertops in patient rooms, classrooms and food service areas. Countertop demand in non-building applications is forecast to rise, spurred by rebounding production of recreational boats and vehicles.

The completed "Countertops" study (published September of 2009, 361 pages) is available for $4,800 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440-684-9600, Fax 440-646-0484 or E-mail pr@freedoniagroup.com.

U.S. Countertop Demand (million square feet)

Item                             2003            2008            2013            Change-2003-2008            Change-2008-2013

Overall                         631              674              760                1.3%                                     2.4%

Laminates                   423              426              455                0.1%                                     1.3%

Solid Surface              86                84                91                 -0.5%                                     1.6%

Natural Stone             25                45                66                 12.5%                                    8.0%

Engineered Stone      13                31                49                 19.0%                                    9.6%

Polymers/Tile/Other   84               88                99                 0.9%                                      2.4%