All Bets Are Off

In the middle of ferocious trade wars, tariff tiffs and a global pandemic playing havoc with material shipments and the total world economy … is this really the time to launch a new industry magazine?


Hard-Surface Report is the second e-magazine from Stone Update and will appear every month with updated numbers on imports of hard-surface material into the United States. Iif there’s ever the time to have a constant flow of information on what’s going on with supply and demand, it’s now. Imported materials make up the bulk of hard surfaces used in the United States. In some sectors – granite, for example – imports make up 85% to 90% of what’s used domestically. The ebb and flow of imports, in volume and value, remains the best source for tracking market demand and trends. That’s the core of Hard-Surface Report. Every month, you’ll get the latest data (within one week of release) from the U.S. International Trade Commission. We analyze and curate the raw numbers, paring down the flow to focus on the categories specific to dimensional hard surfaces. You’ll also see the numbers tell the story with charts and graphs throughout Hard-Surface Report. Graphs are also live and interactive; click or tap on a bar or datapoint on a line and see numbers pop up to provide detail down to the single digits. The large country-by-country statistics don’t have the point-and-see function, but each listing shows comparative figures for the previous month and previous year. And then there’s The Number. It’s hard to find a comparative statistic to encompass all hard-surface material. Adding up the customs values gives some scope to the market, and the size of some sections – and how they keep changing -- may surprise you. One major caveat: Statistics on porcelain include all tiles, pavers, etc., that fit the general technical definition of the material. Unlike the numerous categories available for other materials, it’s a one-size-fits-all tariff definition for porcelain. What’s reported here is more than large slabs, but it’s still useful data to track regularly, Take a good look. We’ll be back next month – and every month thereafter – with more. Emerson Schwartzkopf Editor/Publisher, Hard-Surface Report