The market value of fabricated glass (basic flat glass as well as value-added products like laminated, tempered, insulating and mirrored glass) is forecast to reach $73 billion in 2012, according to “World Flat Glass,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. World demand for flat glass is forecast to rise 5.5% per year through 2012 to 6.9 billion square meters.
Maintaining the trend seen over the 2002-2007 period, demand will outpace real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) gains in the global economy. Gains will be spurred by a healthy building construction environment and rapid growth in newer technologies such as smart glass, self-cleaning windows and head-up display (HUD) windshields.
Developing countries in Asia will register the strongest gains in flat glass demand through 2012, with growth especially strong in China and India. China’s share of world flat glass demand in square meters will rise from under 35% in 2007 to 40% in 2012. However, the country’s share of world fabricated flat glass demand in value will stand at a much less significant 19% in 2012. Basic unfabricated float glass continues to account for a disproportionate share of the overall Chinese flat glass market due to the frenetic pace of building construction activity taking place in the country, often necessitating the utilization of the cheapest materials available. The other developing countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Africa/Mideast region will also have strong growth, led by the other BRIC countries of Russia and Brazil. The developed U.S., Japanese and West European markets will all see slower growth in their markets through 2012.
As a result of a healthy global building construction environment, demand in the larger construction segment will register gains of 6.3% per year through 2012 to $30 billion. In addition, the market for architectural glass will benefit from the greater use of value-added glazing products, both in new structures and during major renovation and refurbishment activities. Chief among these materials are more expensive double-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs) that provide improved energy efficiency and have become increasingly popular in developed countries. Sales of new generations of security and fire-rated glass, self-cleaning glass, and smart windows that promise unprecedented control and energy savings will also accelerate through 2012.
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