In this issue of Stone World, we present our annual Fabricator Market Forecast (page 34), where hundreds of stone fabrication professionals from around the country offer their predictions for the coming year as well as their expectations for the long-term. Moreover, this study gauges how stone fabricators plan to spend their money in 2010 - in real dollar amounts.
Perhaps surprising, the fabricators we polled are relatively optimistic about
the coming year. While the full report on page 34 is a must-read for anyone in
the industry, the following is a brief summary of the
• 45% said the stone market will increase in 2010; 40% said it would stay the
same; only 15% said there would be further declines
• Looking five to 10 years down the road: 83% said the stone market will
increase; 11% said it would stay the same; only 6% said it would
Fabricators gave a number of reasons for their guarded optimism, mostly citing
an improving economy and housing market - particularly with regard to models.
“Customers will remodel the homes they are living in and make them more
comfortable, especially kitchens,” stated one fabricator.
A number of fabricators also said that business simply “can’t get any worse”
than it was in 2009. “I have a gut feeling that things have hit bottom and will
begin to pick up in the second quarter of 2010,” stated one respondent, while
another commented, “I believe that people have been sitting on their money
because of the economy, and after three years of that, some customers will need
to update their home or just fix it up to sell.”
Going beyond opinions, the Stone World Fabricator Market Survey asked industry
professionals how they planned to invest this year. About half of the
fabricators polled said they are planning equipment investments in 2010, and
• One out of 10 fabricators will buy a CNC machine this coming year, expecting to
spend close to $200,000.
• One out of 10 fabricators will buy a waterjet this coming year, expecting to
spend close to $185,000.
• One out of five fabricators will buy a bridge saw this coming year, expecting
to spend close to $80,000.
• One out of five fabricators will buy a polisher this coming year, expecting
to spend close to $50,000.
• One out of six fabricators will invest in air/water treatment, expecting to
spend more than $20,000.
• One out of three fabricators will invest in handling equipment, expecting to
spend close to $35,000.
Based on these survey results, it is clear that although 2010 will not be a
return to the glory days of 2006, there should be quite a bit more activity in
the industry. Some folks out there are planning major investments - many for
the first time in several years. The general consensus seems to be that
consumers are emerging from their “cocoon of fear” that has hampered our
industry for several years, and fabricators are preparing themselves for an
upswing in business.
There are plenty of other positive indicators in our survey that I don’t have
room to mention in this column - which is why you need to read the report on
page 34 - and the majority of them point to a rebound (of some sort) in the