Cleveland, Ohio - Market research group Freedonia Inc. predicts worldwide consumption of thermal and acoustical insulation materials to expand 3.8 percent annually through 2012 to reach 21500 million square metres of R-1 value.
In dollar terms, says the Cleveland-based group, demand for insulation materials will expand to $37 000 million, primarily from volume growth, coupled with moderate increases in unit prices.
These and other trends are presented in Freedonia's new World Insulation study. Developing Asian countries will show the most rapid growth, boosted by strong construction activity and increasing manufacture of products which incorporate insulation materials, such as refrigerators and freezers, said Freedonia. In particular, spending on construction "continues to expand rapidly in China, sparking very strong annual growth in the value of insulation demand through 2012," the study said. Freedonia also feels demand for insulation in China will benefit from government initiatives to encourage more energy-efficient construction.
Meanwhile, slowing residential construction in Western Europe, Canada and Mexico will limit insulation gains in new construction, but will, says Freedonia, be accompanied by a rebound in residential construction activity in the US. This will help offset slowing growth in North America, the group said.
In Western Europe, insulation demand will decelerate from that in 2002- 2007, as a result of slow construction activity, although European Union directives on energy conservation to reduce carbon emissions will raise insulation use in building renovations.
In Japan, the insulation market is expected to reverse a downward trend in thermal insulating value seen during 1997-2007, and an expanding economy should see demand for insulation in construction markets rise.
Freedonia, whose study does not include a breakdown between different types of foam plastic insulation, said foam insulation will continue to be the largest sector of total demand in dollar terms through 2012, with economic expansion in the developing countries of Asia pushing up demand for foamed plastic insulation in both building construction and in the production of household appliances.
But Freedonia points out that higher plastics raw materials costs will hold down overall gains, so that fibreglass insulation will expand its presence outside North America and increase its overall market share.
Mineral wool will see its share of the market shrink, primarily due to competition from fiberglass, said the company, while other materials will continue to be niche products, finding use on the basis of their low cost or environmental advantages.
WORLD INSULATION DEMAND (million square metres R-1 value)
% Annual Growth
2002 2007 2012 2002- 2007 2007- 2012
World insulation demand 14390 17850 21500 4.4 3.8
North America 5049 5215 6120 0. 6 3.3
Western Europe 3951 4245 4470 1.4 1.0
Asia/Pacific 3709 6048 8075 10.3 6.0
Other regions 1681 2342 2835 6.9 3.9World Insulation, published 02/2009, 401 pages, is available for $5800 from The Freedonia Group Inc. www.freedoniagroup.com.