According to a recent report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), the global market for flat glass is projected to reach 84 million metric tons by 2020. Flat glass is the primary material used in the production of facades and windows for homes and buildings, windows and windscreens for the automotive industry, and photovoltaic modules and solar thermal panels for the solar energy market. Float glass is the most widely used technique for producing flat glass; sheet and rolled glass are the other techniques in use.
The flat glass market growth is driven by the need for specialized and advanced glass products, strong market opportunities in emerging countries, and resurgent demand from end-use markets such as healthcare, telecom, electronics and aerospace, among others. Advanced glass products growing in popularity and demand include low-emissivity glass, solar control glass, self-cleaning glass, and smart glass. An emphasis on energy-efficient products and the rising importance of glass in the solar energy market will also help provide growth opportunities for flat glass in the coming years.
The construction industry represents the dominant end-use market for flat glass. The use of architectural glass is steadily increasing in both commercial and residential buildings, guided by benefits such as safety, security, environmental protection and natural insulation. The growing trend toward replacing brick, cement, and granite building exteriors with glass is therefore forecast to benefit growth in the market. The increase in new construction activity and refurbishment of existing buildings will also bring fresh opportunities for growth. Rapid urbanization and the need to address housing requirements of a growing population will spur growth in emerging markets. The growing desire for convenience, comfort and aesthetics, and an increasing focus on energy conservation and safety are driving demand for glass products that not only provide heat insulation but also offer additional benefits, such as impact resistance and acoustic control. In the automotive industry, rising demand for larger-sized windshields and increasing popularity of sunroofs in vehicles are cited as reasons for the increase in flat glass demand.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest and the fastest-growing market worldwide, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% by 2020. This growth is spurred by rapid urbanization, an increase in construction activity in industrial, commercial, residential and infrastructural sectors, and rising demand for luxury cars that use more glass than mainstream models. Luxury cars typically feature double-thick glass in interiors for acoustic insulation and panoramic glass roofs for more pleasurable driving. In mature markets, such as North America and Europe, growth will be driven by the launch of value-added products, such as laminated glazing and the legislation of energy performance mandates for buildings.
Major players covered in the report include Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., Saint-Gobain, Central Glass Co. Ltd., Carlex Glass Co., Guardian Industries Corp., Gujarat Guardian Ltd., Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd., Trakya Cam Sanayii A.?., Taiwan Glass Group, and Viridian™ Glass, among others.