The U.S. architectural glass and glazing industry strengthened in 2022 after a contraction brought on by the pandemic. Economic uncertainty hangs over 2023 and 2024, but the industry remains mostly optimistic in the year ahead. This is according to the newly released 2023 Glass and Glazing Industry Outlook report from Key Media & Research, parent company of USGlass magazine.

A Broader Look

The value of overall nonresidential building construction increased to just over $600 billion, and it is expected to increase in 2023. Residential construction spiked to more than $900 billion but will pull back this year. Specialty trades contractor employment resumed its typical moderate year-over-year increase in 2021 and 2022 after an interruption in 2020.

Glass- and Glazing-Related Construction

KMR data shows the value of nonresidential glass and glazing activity was nearly $22 billion in 2022 and is projected to eclipse that mark in 2023. Multifamily activity continues to expand as single-family witnesses a decline this year.

The office buildings sector had been the leading growth area for glazing contractors in the 2010s. This has moderated since the pandemic. For the second straight year, contract glaziers appear more optimistic for institutional activity (which includes healthcare, educational and public building) in the year ahead instead of commercial.

Industry Outlook

The Contract Glazier Outlook Index (CGOI), an annual numerical measurement of the optimism and current health of the U.S. glass and glazing industry, took a significant hit entering 2021 due to the pandemic. It bounced back the following year.

The index remains strong in 2023, though down slightly from its high mark in 2022. Roughly two-thirds of contract glaziers expect an increase in sales for the year, and a majority plan to add employees in 2023.

Other Notables

Prices in flat glass and architectural glazing have spiked over the past year and glazing contractors and fabricators/manufacturers are concerned with supply chain issues. Labor remains a key issue for firms throughout the industry.

Despite the concerns, most glass fabricators/manufacturers and glazing system suppliers predict higher sales in 2023 than last year, and glass retailers are somewhat optimistic (albeit cautiously) about the year ahead.

Metal fabrication is glazing contractors’ most common area of machinery and equipment investments this year. Meanwhile, most glass fabricators plan to make significant machinery purchases in 2023 and focus on transportation-related investments.

This article is a small excerpt from the 2023 Glass and Glazing Industry Outlook. For more information on the extensive report, click here. Use the promo code USG20 for 20% off.

Nick St. Denis is the director of research for Key Media & Research, parent company of USGlass magazine and the USGNN.com™ e-newsletter.