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US Decorative Laminate Demand to Reach 15.7 Billion Square Feet in 2009

Sales of decorative laminates in the US are forecast to increase 3.9 percent per year to 15.7 billion square feet in 2009, valued at $6.2 billion. Advances will result from a sharp rebound in nonresidential construction, and a recovery in manufactured housing output, which will benefit demand for laminates in the wall panel market. Double-digit gains in the flooring market will be spurred by the continued penetration of laminate flooring, especially in residential remodeling. Vastly expanded style options and cost competitiveness against rival materials will also power sales growth. These and other trends are presented in "Decorative Laminates," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Laminates made from low pressure overlays, including low basis weight papers, saturated papers, decorative foils and vinyl films, will comprise 80 percent of decorative laminate sales volume in 2009 despite below average growth. Gains will be driven in part by technological advances that make some types more durable. The increasing availability of low pressure overlays that are designed to match the patterns available on popular varieties of high pressure laminates will allow them greater flexibility in a wider variety of applications. Sales will also be driven by increased use of saturated paper low pressure laminates in the high growth laminate flooring market.

High pressure laminates are expected to continue to post above average growth through 2009. As the most durable and impact-resistant type of laminate, they will continue to dominate most horizontal applications. However, some low pressure laminates, such as decorative foils and saturated papers, will be increasingly competitive with high pressure laminates in a growing number of applications.

Kitchen and bath fixtures (i.e., countertops and cabinets) will use almost five billion square feet of decorative laminates in 2009, valued at close to $2 billion, despite modest growth. The laminate flooring market will benefit from the introduction of better performing materials and consumer interest in a low cost, low maintenance alternative to popular wood flooring. The wall panels market is also expected to post strong gains as manufactured housing output, the key end use for laminate wall panels, is expected to recover.

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