U.S. Hard-Surface Imports First Quarter 2021

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Last year, before the initial wave of COVID-19 spread worldwide, the U.S. hard-surfaces industry appeared to be heading for a good year. In 2021, as the pandemic slowly eased up and vaccine availability promised an eventual return to normal, thing look a lot better … but don’t bet everything yet. Problems with transporting materials may end up taking a bite out of the recovery later this year, but 2021’s first-quarter imports offered cause for optimism, headed by a billion-dollar customs valuation. We’ll let the numbers do the talking in the next few pages, showing sector performance and shipments from top exporting countries to the United States. Quartz surfaces are still booming, and most natural-stone sectors show gains from 2020.

It’s also important to remember that the import data are lagging indicators for industry. Due to the long journey by container ships, the goods passing through U.S. ports-of-entry at any given time moved from countries of origin some six to eight weeks earlier. That means that much of last year’s first-quarter shipment went to sea before the global lockdown hammer; and, most of the shipments received in the first three months of this year aren’t likely to show the full effect of container shortages and increased transportation costs. If you’d like to know more about U.S. hard-surface imports, be sure to check out our companion online magazine, Hard-Surface Report. It offers monthly in-depth tracking of the natural stone, quartz surfaces and porcelain tile arriving from around the world. Take a look now!

The Number

$1,119,681,278

Total Customs Value U.S Imports, Hard Surfaces First Quarter 2021

Definitions:

Granite: Dimensional surfaces, at minimum, cut and polished on one side (worked). Marble: Dimensional surfaces, at minimum, cut and polished on one side (worked). May include very small amounts of other calcareous stone defined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as marble. Travertine: Dimensional surfaces, at minimum, cut and polished on one side (worked). Other Calcareous: Dimensional surfaces, at minimum, cut and polished on one side (worked), not otherwise classified as marble or travertine. Slate: Dimensional surfaces, at minimum, cut and polished on one side (worked), not classified as roofing material. Porcelain: Ceramic flags and paving, hearth or wall tiles, of a water absorption coefficient by weight <= 0,5 % (excl. refractory, mosaic cubes and finishing ceramics). Includes tiles and slabs.