Two years have passed since we first took the pulse of solid surface in our Fabricator Economic Benchmark Survey. Since then, the United States has survived the terror attacks of 9/11, gone to war twice and suffered through an economic downturn. A little closer to home, imports of solid surface products have been on the rise, and quartz surfacing products have gained widespread acceptance in the marketplace.
Are more solid surface fabricators diversifying their product offering today as compared to two years ago? Have world events and a sluggish economy combined to dampen their outlook for the future, or do they look forward with optimism to the coming years? How profitable is solid surface fabrication compared to that of other products?
You can view the realated graphs for this survery online here.
Shop Size vs. Annual Sales
The correlation between shop size and annual sales is very nearly the same is 2003 as it was in 2001. As expected, small shops reported the least revenue, while the large shops report the greatest. Only the middle to high range of shop size did we see any fluctuation from our previous survey with these shops reporting slightly higher sales volumes than before. This might reflect a trend towards more efficient production practices, higher selling prices, or perhaps a combination of the two.
Whereas in 2001, 48% of respondents indicated solid surface as their only or primary product, a mere 27% say that this is the case in 2003. At the other end of the spectrum, 43% of those polled say solid surface accounts for less than a quarter of their sales. Compare that to 19% two years ago, and it seems apparent that fabricators are making a move to product diversification on a grand scale.
Of the various alterative products listed on our survey, 46% of respondents say they offer quartz surfaces in addition to solid surfaces. 39% offer stone, 50% offer laminates, 37% offer cabinets, 17% offer cultured marble, and 8% offer tile.
If you sell natural stone or quartz surfacing, do you purchase the product already fabricated?
The vast majority (79%) of shops participating in our survey report they purchase their quartz and natural stone products already fabricated. As might be expected, most of those shops are small to medium-sized operations. Their reported gross profits for these products are lower than those who fabricate in-house, and are also lower in comparison to the solid surface products they offer. Companies which fabricate stone products on the other hand, report higher gross profits for stone and quartz as compared to their solid surface offering.
Please indicate typical gross profit for the products you offer
Laminate, tile, and cultured marble, provide the highest gross profit margins of the categories analyzed. Solid surface gross profits are typically higher than those for quartz surfaces and stone products.