by Nick St. Denis

The U.S. architectural glass and glazing industry remains stable in 2024, following several years of strong growth, according to the 2024 Glass and Glazing Industry Outlook from Key Media & Research.

A Broader Look

The value of overall nonresidential building construction is projected to increase modestly after significant double-digit percentage increases in the previous two years. The value of residential construction expanded enormously from 2019 through 2022, but as expected, it retreated in 2023. 2024 is expected to remain flat, with the potential for slight growth.

Spending on nonresidential glass and glazing construction is expected to flatten over the next two years following a more-than-decades-long period of year-over-year solid growth—aside from the pandemic-induced dip in 2021. The value of architectural glass-related activity in multifamily construction spiked in 2022 before retreating in 2023. This recent downtrend should continue to a lesser degree over the next two years.

U.S. glazing contractors are increasingly bullish in the institutional segments—namely healthcare and educational—than the commercial sectors, previously driven by office building. The 40 largest glazing contractors (based on annual revenues) have collectively peaked in the past few years but still maintain their overall elevated level.

Industry Outlook

The Contract Glazier Outlook Index, an annual numerical measurement of the optimism and current health of the U.S. glass and glazing industry, indicates a still stable but less positive outlook than in recent years.

Year-over-year sales expectations remain mostly positive for glazing contractors heading into 2024, and most firms saw their backlogs increase over the past 12 months.

The percentage of contract glaziers that hired additional employees increased in 2023 and is expected to decrease in 2024—though more than two-thirds still plan to add to their headcounts.

Other Notables

After several years of large increases, product prices in flat glass and metal fenestration have receded slightly and flattened, respectively.

Entering 2024, glass suppliers are mostly optimistic from a sales perspective but are collectively concerned about key economic factors. Suppliers of architectural glazing systems are less optimistic than glazing contractors and glass fabricators. Glass retailers, meanwhile, have mixed expectations in the year ahead.

Similar to recent years, transportation and metal fabrication are the two most popular types of machinery and equipment that glazing contractors plan to invest in in 2024, according to KMR survey data. More than two-thirds of glass fabricators participating in the industry outlook survey say they will make significant machinery purchases in 2024.

This article is a small excerpt from the 2024 Glass and Glazing Industry Outlook, a comprehensive look at the state of the U.S. architectural glass and metal industry. The report provides historical and forward-looking insight and analysis of recent trends to give suppliers, contractors, manufacturers, fabricators, retailers and other affiliates a sense of the industry’s well-being in 2024. To purchase the full report, click here.

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

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