The Size of the Pie

By Debra A. Levy

We just finished the Thanksgiving holidays here in the States and are careening toward Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year. So maybe it’s appropriate that I’ve been thinking about pies. In this case, though, I haven’t been thinking apple or chess or even White Christmas pies, but rather the big “pie” of revenues in the contract glazing business. As you’ll see on page 20, the size of that pie has grown considerably in the past five years. I am always curious to see which business sector gets the biggest piece. USGlass analysis of data provided by KMR Research, a division of our parent company, Key Media & Research, provides an interesting annual look at the shifts in the contract glazing business.

First, the good news. The 2018 market still grew, up 11.4 percent from 2017.

But an interesting phenomena occurred this year. Even though the pie is larger, your percentage of it may not be—especially if you are one of the top five contract glazing firms. For the first time in recent history, their total sales, as a percentage of all revenue, was less in 2018 than 2017. Where did that work go? Mostly to the next 35 companies as their volume grew significantly.

So even though the pie grew, the relative size of their slice did not. These are subtle yet significant shifts that I expect will continue for the next three to five years. A lot of this change is the result of the new and very sophisticated companies that entered the U.S. market when the economy was bad. They’ve had a number of years to get established and gain credibility and an understanding of the U.S. market here, increasing both in the number of jobs they’re awarded and the dollar volume of those jobs. Though not yet top five in revenue here, they are competing aggressively for bigger and bigger slices. And the top five still reflect a North American demographic, as four of the five companies are U.S.-owned.


The holidays and the year’s end are always a time for reflection. All of us here at USGlass wish you and your families, personal and professional, a wonderful season of joy. I thank you for the privilege of working for and with the glass industry. There is no other material on earth quite like glass, and no other people on earth quite like those in glass industry. Have a wonderful New Year!

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