Top Metal Companies 2017: The Market

Top metal companies adjust procedures to maintain growth in a challenging construction environment
Bethany Stough and Norah Dick
November 2, 2017

Sale levels in 20161. How did sales levels in 2016 compare to the previous year?

Ninety-two percent of responding Top Metal Companies reported an increase in sales from 2015 to 2016, and no companies reported a decrease in sales. This is the fifth consecutive year that more than 70 percent of Top Metal Companies have reported a sales increase. 

2. What are your company's future investment or expansion plans?* 

  • Add products/product lines 77%
  • Invest in new capital equipment 54%
  • Add locations 31%
  • Make acquisitions 19%
  • Other† 12%
    † including expand or build new facilities; expand market reach       


Expansion plans for 2017Seventy-seven percent of responding Top Metal Companies plan to add products/product lines in the coming year, followed by 54 percent planning to invest in new capital equipment. By comparison, in last year’s survey, adding products/product lines also ranked at the top of Top Metal Company investments, at 90 percent, followed by investing in new capital equipment, at 70 percent. 

3. What product areas offer the most potential for growth in 2018?*

Product growth areas for 2018

  • Sun­-control products (sunshades, etc.) 46%
  • Thermally broken storefronts and entrances 38%
  • Unitized curtain wall systems 27%
  • Custom aluminum curtain wall products 23%
  • Standard aluminum curtain wall products 15%
  • Stick-­built curtain wall systems 12%
  • Commercial interior/exterior railings 12%
  • Steel curtain wall products 8%
  • Aluminum composite panels 4%
  • Other‡ 19%
    ‡ including aluminum plate panels, custom fabrication, protective products

For the first time since 2013, the majority of survey respondents listed sun-control products as the product area offering the most growth potential, at 46 percent. Thermally broken storefronts and entrances, and unitized curtain wall retain significant growth potential in the coming year, with 38 percent and 27 percent of Top Metal Companies selecting the product areas, respectively. 

Regional growth in 2017

4. Which region(s) of the United States saw the most growth in 2017?* (Growth in 2017 / Projected 2018 growth)

  • West 38% / 38%
  • Midwest 27% / 31%
  • Southwest 31% / 23%
  • Southeast 38%  / 38%
  • Northeast 42% / 58%

*Respondents were asked to check all that apply

Forty-two percent of Top Metal Companies experienced strong growth in the Northeast in 2017, followed closely by the Southeast and West at 38 percent. Companies predict the Northeast will stay hot in 2018, with 58 percent of respondents expecting the region to lead growth in the coming year.


The List - Top Metal Companies

The List - The Top Metal and Glass Fabricators

The Market

2017's Challenges