Four key trends to look out for in the gypsum market

Smithers Apex pinpoints four key trends that are changing the dynamics of gypsum products and supply chains.

According to new research from Smithers Apex - The Future of Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2028 - the global gypsum market will increase from $2.2 billion to $3.4 billion from 2018 to 2028. The annual growth rate from 2018 to 2023 is anticipated at 4.0%, increasing to 8.2%for 2023-2028.

The key barometer used to predict the economic state of the gypsum industry is the construction industry. If the construction industry is an expansive market, the demand for gypsum-based products increases accordingly.

In certain regions there is an interesting dynamic occurring in the ratio of gypsum being used in plasterboard compared to other forms of building materials. An example would be Russia where up until 2017 plasterboard consumed the most gypsum. That has since reversed with dry mixes and blocks consume more than plasterboard.

Across the next 10 years Smithers Apex identifies four key trends that are affecting the industry growth and use of gypsum in different end-use applications:

  • Regulatory
  • Recycling and sustainability
  • Regional trends
  • Panelisation for prefabrication.

Regulatory trends

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will have a direct impact on the future potential for plasterboard. Although these are US-based codes, there are similar codes being used in other developed countries, such as those of the EU. A change in the building code often is a catalyst for innovation and product/system development. For example, required fire resistance led to the development of Type X plasterboard. The energy codes have fostered product development as there is now a requirement for the exterior walls to incorporate what is called an air barrier.

Environmental regulations are also having a big effect on the market. Concern over greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change is forcing the market to look at greener options.

Recycling and sustainability

There is increasing pressure to recycle building products after their useful life. Part of the pressure is coming from end-use influencers, architects, and part of it is in regulation changes on how much material can be landfilled. As a result, there is a new industry emerging around the recycling of gypsum and specifically plasterboard products.

Some plasterboard manufacturers are promoting programmes they have in place to recycle plasterboard products that went to construction sites but were never installed. Knauf is one such manufacturer, claiming a 94% recycled content. In the US, standards are being developed to help provide guidance on the practice of recycling. These guidelines include defining what materials can be recycled, how to segregate the waste at construction sites, and the proper marking for these materials.

Regional trends

Adoption of plasterboard in developing countries is truly gaining traction. Countries that traditionally used wet trades (plaster, cement) and technology are moving more and more into plasterboard construction. When a new product is introduced into a region it is typically manufactured elsewhere and imported to the new market as the supply chain to support local production simply does not exist at an early stage. As the product becomes established, so does demand and this creates the impetus for local production begins.

Italy is a good example of this, in that for many years it did not have not have any local plasterboard manufacturing facilities. Now the three big plasterboard producers – Saint-Gobain, Knauf, and Etex Siniat – have a total of four plants in that country.

Panelisation for prefabrication

The desire for reducing construction time while increasing quality has led to a renewed emphasis on panelisation. Small companies are emerging that specialise in panelising specific components on commercial projects. Forward-thinking contractors are setting up divisions simply focused on panelisation. While panelisation is nothing new, what is driving it is incorporating building information modelling (BIM) into the process. Contractors are stating that they could not have used panelisation if they did not have this electronic BIM tool.

The healthcare and hospitality industries are driving this change. Both of these industries have owners replicating common designs in multiple locations. A single hospital or hotel will have numerous restrooms within each facility and those can be built, complete with all components, in a factory off-site and shipped to the jobsite. There it is simply “plugged in” and ready for use. Panelisation has its impact all along the supply chain.

The Future of Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2028 offers in-depth analysis of the supply chain for the gypsum market, from production to various end use markets. Download the brochure for more information.