We look at how mimicking natural stone and reducing impact on the planet, is steering the development and sales of quartz worktops
Few could dispute the impact quartz has had on kitchen worktop sales. Earlier this year, Caesarstone reported a 150% uplift in qualified consumer sales leads.
VP marketing for Caesarstone UK Jonathan Stanley explains the popularity of quartz, commenting: “It’s combination of technical performance, coupled with a now unrivalled range of colours and designs makes it the go-to choice for most kitchen renovations and refurb projects.”
And managing director of CRL Stone Simon Boocock agrees, adding: “Quartz worktops have seen a surge in popularity over the past few years for many reasons, not least because of their unrivalled hygiene and sturdiness. Consumers also like the fact that, while they can choose a worktop that has a marble or natural stone look, they can also pick from a really wide range of styles and colours.”
The look of natural stone combined with the enhanced physical properties of quartz – non-porous, stain and heat resistance, embodies the hypernature trend (or better than nature).
And it has impacted both consumer décor and texture choice. Jonathan Stanley of Caesarstone UK says: “One trend we recognise is a consumer desire for the appearance of clean, white, natural stone surfaces.
“Surfaces such as Empira White, Misty Carrera and Statuario Nuvo bridge the gap for those who love the look of marble but cannot live with its impracticalities.”
Commercial director of Brandt design Julia Steadman says this is mirrored in her company’s sales: “We are finding that quartzes like Calacutta Supreme and Bianco Ecllipsia in a 20mm thickness, with a polished finish are popular right now.
“These luxurious surfaces offer eye-catching, marble effects for contemporary classic schemes.”
Now quartz worktops are becoming more democratic, demonstrated by Wren Kitchens which recently opened Europe’s largest quartz processing plant to cater for “unprecedented” demand. It further boardens sales for quartz worktops at a variety of price points.
But Jonathan Stanley says to encourage consumers to trade up in quartz worktop sales, kitchen retailers and designers should make consumers “feel assured in the fact that high quality worksurfaces are worth the investment.”
And Julia Steadman of Brandt Design says this is possibility by highlighting the longevity of the worktop. She explains: “In my experience, I believe that every customer appreciates knowing how strong and durable a surface is, especially when some brands can evidence this by offering warranties of 10, 15 and 25 years.
“By highlighting the quality and longevity of these surfaces, it is easier to reframe a big-ticket purchase into an excellent value proposition over a lengthy time frame, especially is a client is keen to invest in their forever home or want to ensure that a buy to let property is kitted out with robust and hardwearing surfaces from the get go.”
Julia Steadman also says kitchen retailers and designers can capitalise on the wellness trend, in a post-COVD landscape to maximise quartz worktop sales.
She comments: “The beauty of quartz surfaces is they are fully sealed and rendered non-porous. As a result, bacteria and dirt can be wiped away quickly and easily with a damp cloth and a gentle cleaner, opening up possibilities for the low-maintenance but health conscious consumer as hygiene remains top-of-the-mind in the wake of the pandemic.
It hasn’t only been the health of people but also of the planet, which has been brought to the front of mind, particularly during lockdowns.
A ‘nature is healing’ narrative ran throughout 2020, and people took time to consider the impact of human activities on the environment.
And manufacturers of quartz worktops, which is made from quarried stone, are working on making their products more environmentally friendly a top priority.
Jonathan Stanley comments: “We understand and recognise our duty towards a less wasteful future. We aim to create durable, low maintenance products that support healthier environments and promote a better use of material resources.
“For example, we champion high-performing and durable surfaces which are made to last.”
While Cosentino recently invested in production to reduce the impact on the planet, with the introduction of Hybriq technology for its Silestone Loft and Sunlit Days series.
Marketing manager at Cosentino UK Laura Davie explains: “HybriQ surfaces are made from a new hybrid blend of mineral raw materials with equal or better performance than quartz, as well as materials of recycled origin.
“This makes it possible to reduce the use of silica by an impressive 50% and achieving a reduction of up to 90% for certain colours.
“It also harnesses two major changes in product process for manufacturing Silestone – using 100% renewable energy and 99% reused water.
“For HybriQ+ surfaces, the product composition also comprises a minimum of 20% recycle materials.”
She says the technology offers consumers the same performance and hygienic benefits but with a sustainability at its core.
Laura Davie concludes: “As homeowners seek out eco-friendly products more than ever before, this new technology from Silestone is the start of a new era for quartz manufacturers and the focus should be on helping reduce impact on our planet.”