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Stone Sale Analysis in UK

Updated:2012-08-02 11:46:48
The UK stone industry got off to a good start in 2008, continuing the exceptional growth that had started in 1996 and continued on a general upwards trend well into double figures ever since. However, as the year progressed the reality of the recession started to bite and after April sales began to fall. The year still showed that increase in the value of imports on 2007 overall. Of course, the rise in prices must also have played its part in curtailing demand.
Imports account for the majority of stone sales in the UK. The domestic stone quarrying industry is so small that no accurate figures for extraction of dimensional stone from the 300 quarries active in the British Isles (which includes Ireland) exist. Anecdotally, sales of British stone had been pulled along with the general increase in demand for stone in Britain throughout the second half of the 1990s and into the new millennium. Again anecdotally, the fall in demand for stone last year was not as bad for home produced stone as it has been for imports.
Leading the growth in stone sales over the past 15 years have been the interiors market, especially granite and latterly engineered quartz worktops and limestone flooring, and hard landscaping. Both benefited from the falling price of imports thanks to the growth of first India and then China as the source of stone and the falling price of diamond tools to process granite. There have also been a relatively large number of palacial private mansions and country houses built in the British Isles. The top end of the market has held up better than the lower end, which tends to help traditional masonry using indigenous stones because these projects are less price sensative than commercial or public sector projects, where the money being spent has to be accounted for to shareholders or tax payers.
The past 15 years have been a heady time for the growth of the stone market in the UK that has benefited the whole industry and seen a lot of new companies entering the market.
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