It won't come as a surprise to hear that many people these days are concerned about budgets and saving money. The current state of the economy and the crash of the housing market have left an impression that undoubtedly affects consumers' choices. The good news is that people are still spending money, but they are trying to spend more wisely.

We wondered what effect the economy has had on people interested in decorative concrete. So we looked back to 2007 at the cusp of economic change, and compared what consumers wanted to know about decorative concrete then to what they want to know now, in 2011. The pleasant surprise is that people still seem to be very interested in decorative concrete, but they are focusing more on its long-term value and practicality.

Top 5 Most Researched Topics on

Changing DesiresIn 2007, stained concrete, concrete countertops and concrete patios were high on the consumer wish list. Thousands of articles and photos were accessed, and the trend for customization and personalization was the biggest appeal for decorative concrete. In 2011, the top five topics are still the same, but a notable shift occurred in the interest for patios and countertops.

Our interpretation behind the increased interest in concrete patios is the recent trend of "staycationing," or creating a vacation-like environment in the backyard. Consumers are more interested in fixing up their existing homes rather than spending for a one-time, expensive vacation. So their interest has shifted to finding ways to improve their patio and outdoor living environments while getting the most value out of what they spend.

Also reflecting a more budget-conscious mindset is the dip in interest in premium concrete countertops since 2007. Though some consumers are still eager for cutting-edge, artisanal products, many others are looking for functional, reasonably priced options that offer the most bang for the buck. Providing economical options for all ranges of buyers is what is necessary in this climate.

Comparison of Information Accessed on

How much does it cost?When times were good, cost was not the biggest influence on consumer desire for decorative concrete. In 2007, all pages on relating to cost in the top five categories were accessed very little. However, demand was very high for viewing pages associated with design trends, ideas, photos, and project profiles. The data seems to indicate that in 2007 consumers were thinking "what can I do with decorative concrete, how is it done, and what will it cost." In 2011, they're still thinking "what can I do," since their desire for photos and ideas is still high. But now they also want to know right away "how much will it cost."

So what's ahead?

Long-time Concrete Network client and contractor Don Cline of Artistic Stone Surfaces in Jones, Okla., says his area is doing fairly well economically. "We haven't experienced a big drop off," he says. But he's noticed that his business has slowed. "People are really sitting on their money. They're like a turtle that pulls back in its shell till it gets better. Well, it hasn't gotten any better yet," he explains.

Dire forecasts and gloomy economic predictions aren't helpful to those making a living with concrete or any other consumer discretionary product. From our perspective, the data associated with economic change helps illustrate areas of opportunity. Between 2007 and 2011, consumer interest in decorative concrete has not waned. People still want it and will pay for it when they're ready. Here are some ideas for staying successful in this economic environment and appealing to the budget-conscious consumer:

  • People are still spending money. Showing them the value they're getting is vitally important.
  • Be able to offer your clients choices. Perhaps they can't afford a new patio right now, but you can help them resurface or repair the one they have.
  • Not everyone is on a tight budget. According to, one in 50 U.S. households earns more than $250,000. Show them how an investment in decorative concrete can help them beautify their home or business.

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