By Claude Gargi,
Chief Editor, Pierre Actual
14 October, 2021
1. The market in the French stone industry has never been as good as it is now. All the different segments of the market, be they in private consumption or public sector projects, are doing well.
2. Because of the well known logistical issues( difficulties in obtaining containers, high shipping rates, etc.), the demand has increased for local materials like French limestone.
3. In France, the end consumer gives a special importance to the origin of the product, even in natural stone.
4.In the kitchen countertop market segment the use of natural stone is steadily increasing. Porcelain seems to have taken away some market share from quartz. Regarding the popularity of materials, Zimbabwe Black is in strong demand and demand for quartzite from Brazil is growing. Patogonia, in particular, is well liked among consumers.
5. There is also a noticeable trend for high quality, decorative, colourful materials. With the introduction of high end materials in the French market, the value of materials has, as a result, also increased.
6. In public sector works the preference of specifiers is increasingly for natural materials coming from geographically close locations. Neighbouring countries such as Spain, and also Portugal, have become important stone suppliers in this segment of the market.
7. Use of thick stone for construction buildings of all kind, is on the increase. Thick Stone (sizes such as 2 metres x 1 metre × 40 cm) has become fashionable among architects. Mostly French limestone, but also stone from Spain, is being used in these projects. France may currently be the only country where use of thickness stone is coming back. It is preferred basically because of the increased ecological sensibility among architects. With thick stone one can get both exterior and interior claddings with the same stone. This thinking is especially prevalent in Southern France where the weather is milder. This trend of using thick stone has been increasing since the last few years, quarries which previously produced small sized blocks for applications like fireplaces, are nowadays focusing on massive stone.
8. Because of shortage of labour increasing mechanisation of workshops is taking place, be they small sized or bigger companies. Sales of CNC machines etc.are strong.
9. A lot of public sector projects are currently being undertaken all over France. Demand for paving stones is, correspondingly, high.
10. Government support to companies as a way of reviving the economy post Covid-19 is also another factor which has led to greater optimism among the industry professionals.