When the going gets tough, the tough must get going – a plea for innovation and new thinking: Part 1

This article is more specifically meant to challenge the US brick industry in preparing for the future through a greater effort on innovation. But it can certainly give food for thought to most, if not to all, of the other brick markets in the world. The aim of this article is to show that even if the depressed construction industry in the USA eventually fully recovers and heads towards new boom years, so that bricks are again used in large quantities to build new houses and buildings, we must be very careful not to take this for granted and fall back into a routine. The ­future will only be what we work hard to define and shape. Part 2 will appear in the next issue of Zi Brick and Tile Industry International.

1 Historical development in the USA

To better see into the future, we must first take a look at the past and present. If we look at a chart showing the percentage of market share enjoyed by clay bricks in the US, we see the following (»1):
› The marketing emphasis put in place in the early 1990s stopped a slow decline and actually helped regain a few percent points of market share. The industry as a whole should be congratulated for this
› If we look at the last 40 years of history, we actually see a picture that is far from negative (»2), where the bricks per house start are not declining,...

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