Numbers Can Tell a Story.
We Make it Happe

More than ever before, hard-surface imports are making waves in the industry. It's not just the amounts or the values; politics and trade policies now influence what's showing up in U.S. ports-of-entry.

At Stone Update, we keep up with what's going on with news coverage of trade developments and a monthly analysis of U.S. import data. Our own numbers -- in web and email traffic -- show tariff and import topics at the top of the list in reader interest.

In the past two years, Stone Update Magazine published a quarterly analysis of natural stone and quartz-surfaces imports. (There's one in this issue.) It's time to step up the coverage ... and, beginning in March, we'll begin publication of Hard-Surface Report, a monthly online magazine to detail what's coming into the United States.

Data remains as a bunch of numbers until there's context. Hard-Surface Report will give you a perspective on the market by letting the tally of imports describe what's happening in the dimensional-surfaces market.

More than 85% of dimensional natural stone used in the United States comes from outside the country. A substantial majority of quartz surfaces fabricated here are manufactured offshore or across the border. Those import numbers provide one of the few windows available to determine market demand and changes in cost.

Every month, we'll track the volume and the declared customs value of seven surface categories. Much of that data will be reported on interactive charts, such as the accompanying line graph tracking quartz-slab import volume in 2018-2019. For example, click (or, on a tablet or smartphone, point with your finger) on any of the data points, and you'll get the exact number for that month.

Learning Lessons from the Past

Import data isn't all about what happened last month and last year. The numbers from the past five or 10 years can reveal a wealth of information on market behavior and trends.

Hard-Surface Report will also offer occasional looks into the past from our archive of import data, featuring a sector's particular performance through the years.

So how will this work? Instead of telling you more, let's go to the workshop and unveil the prototypes.