SOURCE: Freedonia Group, Inc.

August 23, 2006 16:01 ET

U.S. Cast Polymer Materials Demand to Reach 239 Million Square Feet in 2010

CLEVELAND, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 23, 2006 -- Demand for cast polymer materials in the U.S. is forecast to advance 4.1 percent per year to 239 million square feet in 2010. Gains will be driven by the increasing use of cast polymers in nonresidential countertops, a relatively low penetration market where construction spending is expected to rebound dramatically. Even in residential countertops, the dominant but more developed end use, cast polymers will continue to gain market share at the expense of many other materials because of performance advantages, as well as their vast array of color and surface texture options. Advances will continue to be powered by ongoing strong growth in engineered stone demand, though that growth is expected to slow from the meteoric increases the material has registered since it was introduced in the late 1990s. These and other trends are presented in "Solid Surface & Other Cast Polymers," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Demand for engineered stone (available in quartz or marble) is expected to register strong growth of 8.8 percent per year to 70 million square feet in 2010. Engineered stone, especially quartz, is still a relatively new material in the U.S. market, but will account for nearly 30 percent of cast polymer sales in 2010, surpassing cultured stone to be the second largest cast polymer product segment. Whereas the bulk of cast polymers are supplied by U.S. manufacturers, in the engineered stone segment, more than two-thirds of demand is comprised of imports. Solid surface materials will continue to account for the largest share of cast polymer volume sales with 43 percent in 2010 and will record respectable gains. Despite cost advantages, demand for cultured stone will be modest due to competition from other products.

Although the residential countertop market accounted for more than 65 percent of cast polymer material demand in 2005, the industry continues to search for and develop additional applications. Strong gains are projected in the nonresidential market, where penetration remains relatively low, as well as for other less established end uses such as shower pans, wet walls and bath accessories. Other applications include sinks, bathtubs, flooring, window sills, architectural embellishments, furniture, lighting fixtures and drawer pulls.

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