Clay Product & Refractory Manufacturers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Quarterly Insight, Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 920 clay product and refractory manufacturers in the US produce structural products, refractories, whitewares, and technical or engineered goods. Structural products include brick, roofing tiles, pipes, and flooring tiles. Refractories are made to withstand high temperature - over 1,000 degrees - and include fireplace liner bricks, kiln and forge lining materials, crucibles for metal and glass melting, and gas burner components. Whitewares tend to be more delicate and include dishes, china, wall tiles, lamp bases, statuary, pottery, sanitary porcelain (sinks, toilets, and urinals). Technical or engineered products include ceramic disk brakes, ballistic protection, biomedical implants, mechanical bearings, and missile nose cones.

Competition from Alternative Materials

Manufacturers of clay products compete for market share against manufacturers making similar products from alternative materials.

Variable Energy Costs

Clay product and refractory manufacturers have high expenses related to energy, because materials are baked or fired to obtain their rigid form.

Industry size & Structure

A typical clay product and refractory manufacturer operates out of 1-2 locations, employs 38 workers, and generates almost $9 million annually.

    • The clay product and refractory manufacturing industry consists of about 920 companies which employ about 35,000 workers and generate about $8 billion annually.
    • Pottery, ceramics and plumbing fixture manufacturers represent 60% of firms but employ just 35% of workers and generate 31% of industry revenue. Clay building materials and refractory product manufacturers represent 40% of firms and employ 65% of workers and generate 69% of industry revenue.
    • Customer industries include building materials distributors, construction firms, utilities (water/sewer/power), oil and gas producers, government (military/law enforcement), hardware and home improvement stores, electrical supplies distributors, electronic component manufacturers, home furnishings wholesalers and retailers, foodservice providers (restaurants, caterers, hotels), kiln manufacturers, and manufacturers of products that requiring kiln-firing or extremely high temperature to cure.
    • Large companies include Meridian Brick, Corning, Lenox, CoorsTek, Ortech Advanced Ceramics, American Standard, and Mohawk Industries (Dal-Tile, Marazzi).
    • The industry is concentrated with the 20 largest firms representing about 52% of industry revenue.
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Clay Product & Refractory Manufacturers Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Coronavirus Update

                                    May 14, 2022 - Manufacturing Sector Posts Strong April Job Growth
                                    • The US manufacturing sector added 55,000 jobs in April, a one-month net job change second only to leisure and hospitality. Government economists said the majority of manufacturers’ gains came from hiring at durable goods plants. While the April jobs gain was positive for the manufacturing sector overall, the outlook for employment growth for clay product and refractory manufacturers is negative with the industry projected to shed 6,500 jobs between 2014 and 2024 for an annual rate of change of -1.8%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.
                                    • Remodeling projects and spending on home remodels, a driver of demand for exterior brick cladding, refractory fireplace brick, floor and wall tile, and vitrified porcelain fixtures, such as sinks and toilets, are at their highest rates since 2018, according to the 2022 Houzz & Home Study. In 2021, 55% of homeowners remodeled their living spaces, up from 53% in 2020 and 54% in both 2019 and 2018. Median spend on remodeling projects increased 15% last year and an additional 20% this year, for a median spend of $18,000. Kitchen remodels remain the most popular projects among homeowners, with spending in 2021 up 25%, from $12,000 in 2020 to $15,000 in 2021. Market fundamentals, including limited and aging housing stock, continue to drive demand for home remodels, according to the study.
                                    • The global earthenware market is forecast to grow 4.5% annually through 2027 to approach $2.6 billion, according to Digital Journal. Earthenware is a ceramic material made of 25% ball clay, 28% kaolin, 32% quartz, and 15% feldspar. Earthenware products include pottery, dishes, and decorative objects.
                                    • Researchers at Virginia Tech are looking at the skeletal structure of sea creatures like starfish, mollusks, and sponges for insights into making more durable and lightweight ceramics. These creatures have porous but strong skeletal structures, which reduces their weight. Using these as examples, researchers hope to develop ceramics that can be porous but strong. Currently, ceramics must be dense to manage brittleness.
                                    • Clay product manufacturers that make building products are benefitting from growth in the construction sector. Total construction spending climbed 12% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to a year earlier. The economy is expected to expand by around 6% in 2022 and 4% in 2023, according to ING, and a major backlog of nonresidential repair work and deferred projects will be reinstated as a result. The prospect of major government infrastructure investment will further fuel growth.
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