A new report from Smithers Apex, The Future of Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2026, identifies the key drivers for the gypsum industry over the next ten years.
The global gypsum market is valued at $1.49 billion in 2016, equivalent to 252 million tonnes, with 33.3% and 60.9% being consumed in the plasterboard and cement industries, respectively. According to Smithers Apex, the gypsum market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9.9% to reach nearly $2.4 billion by 2018 and $3.8 billion by 2026.
Nearly all gypsum is used in three prime applications: building construction, cement (where it is used as a setting retarder), and agriculture (mostly for soil conditioner and fertiliser). Another common application is wet or powdered plaster. Minor applications include dentistry and surgical/medical, e.g., plaster casts.
Patterns of gypsum consumption vary geographically. In the US, about 75% of the gypsum consumed is used in wallboard. The same is largely true for Western Europe, but for much of the world, the picture is quite different. In developing countries such as China and India, dry construction is still in its infancy, although growing rapidly. In contrast, huge investments in infrastructure have led to booming markets in cement. Much of the developed world, such as southern Europe, is somewhere between the two extremes.
Population growth is dramatic in many developing countries, particularly India and China, and represents a major driver in gypsum consumption. Not only does large-scale industrialisation create a need for rapid improvements in infrastructure, but increasingly prosperous populations demand higher-quality housing and better living conditions. On average, developing countries use large amounts of cement and much less plasterboard. That ratio tends to change with the maturity of the market as infrastructure spend declines and housing becomes more important.
“The invigorated US economy, while still sluggish by historical standards, has led to a surge in housing and general construction, with sustained growth in home building. The rise in construction activity, particularly in rebuild and renovation, with its associated growth in plasterboard demand, in turn caused an 11% increase in US gypsum production in 2012 over that of 2011. Growth continued to be dynamic from 2012 but at a reduced growth rate,” said Kurt Soezen, author of the report.
“The most likely path forward for the global construction industry is a moderate recovery through 2016, gaining steam in 2018. It will then decline in some markets, before rebounding to sustained growth from 2020 up to 2026.”
The construction industry is very cost-conscious and generally reliant on low-tech solutions. Gypsum technology evolves slowly and rarely enters the high-tech realm, outside of specialised medical or dental applications, which are inherently low-volume.
Technical trends in gypsum and gypsum board technology in the past 10 years have primarily focused on greater mould resistance, weight reduction, better soundproofing, impact resistance and substitution of paper with other materials such as fibre-glass.
Another emphasis has been on sustainability and recycling. Gypsum products are infinitely recyclable and keep their natural properties during repeated application.
The real driver for growth in cement production lies in Asia, particularly in China and India, where construction and infrastructure work has exploded in recent years. In 2012, China and India together accounted for 65% of worldwide cement production, but China dominates, by itself accounting for 58% of worldwide cement production.
Based on extensive primary and secondary research, The Future of Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2026 provides quantitative market sizes and strategic forecasts, offering an insight into the industry’s market over the next decade.
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