Asia-Pacific is expected to remain as the largest market for clay building materials and clay refractories in the foreseeable future, backed by the rapid pace of infrastructure and industrial development in the region, especially in China and India.
Residential construction is expected to continue as the leading end-use industry for building materials as income levels of consumers rise and they demand better lifestyles and luxurious living spaces. On the other hand, the usage of clay building materials and clay refractories in developed markets such as North America, Japan and Europe continues to decline, because of the growing trend of substituting clay-based building materials with alternate products such as timber, PVC tiles, concrete, and stones.
In the US, a growing baby-boomer population indicates that lesser amount of expenditure would be incurred on new house building but relatively more on remodeling activities. As the clay bricks market is highly reliant on the housing construction trends, market players are restricting themselves to minimal capacity expansions. Technological advancements leading to the development of durable and long lasting refractories eroded the growth rates in the refractories market. New and improved products and installation/repair practices are the focus of research and development activities in the arena. Lighter, thinner and stronger refractory materials are increasingly preferred to save energy in the kilns and optimize the ratio of ware-refractory material to fire. The steel industry represents the chief consumer of refractories. Thereby the performance of the refractory industry hinges upon the performance of the iron & steel industry. Any downs in iron & steel sector are ultimately reflected in the industry performance. The declining usage of refractory in steel is affecting the market fortunes, and the growth rate is likely to be slurred through 2012. Steel industry consumption of refractory materials varies from 50% to 80% of total annual consumption depending upon the country. China is the world leader in steel production, while Germany and Brazil are the leading steel producers in Europe and South America, respectively. Germany, the UK, Italy and France are among the leading refractory producers.
Demand for clay refractories is projected to surpass the demand for nonclay refractories by 2015, driven by the increasing usage of high-alumina based and other high-value materials. Monolithics are forecast to register above-average growth, with their demand outpacing that of bricks and shapes. The market for nonmetallic mineral products is expected to account for a major portion of refractory demand in the near future, spurred by the increase in production of mineral products, such as ceramics and cement. The usage of refractories for manufacturing metals is also expected to grow, fuelled by the increase in production of aluminum and other products. Significant growth potential is seen in Zircon/zirconia, silicon carbide extra-high alumina, and other more specialized refractory materials.
The global clay building materials and clay refractories market experienced significant decline in demand during 2008 and 2009 in the backdrop of the economic slowdown that impacted most of the markets worldwide. Global production and demand eroded in 2008-2009, as the construction and industrial activity collapsed on account of the severe crisis. Steep decline in steel production, as well as residential and commercial construction activity stunted growth and demand in the building materials market. Bailout was provided by public sector projects, as majority of the private residential and commercial construction projects were either cancelled or postponed. Maximum brunt of the economic downturn was borne by the mature and saturated western markets of North America, Japan and Europe, which displayed high double-digit decrease in market growth for 2009. Developing markets, particularly Asia-Pacific was the beacon of light, showing marginal fallback in annual growth rates. Middle East and Latin America markets also displayed below average performances, with sales margins falling much below expected lines. However, as the economies around the world continue to turn around, the clay building materials and refractories market is expected to be gradually back on track by year 2012 onwards.
Asia-Pacific emerges as the undisputed market leader, as stated by the new market research report on Clay Building Materials and Clay Refractories. The region powered by burgeoning markets such as China, India, Australia, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka among others, is also expected to display the strongest growth rate of more than 4.0% for the analysis period. Europe represents the other major consumer of clay building materials and clay refractories, after Asia-Pacific.
The global market is broadly segmented by clay building materials and clay refractories. Clay Building Materials represents the largest product segment. With respect to growth potential, the Clay Refractories segment is poised for the highest CAGR of 4.7% through 2015. The increasing usage of high-priced, superior performance refractories is expected to fuel the overall demand for refractories in value terms.
The industry is marked by the presence of a large number of small local players taking a lion’s share in most of the markets. Majority of the players are leading companies operating in a particular market, and acquisitions & mergers are a favorite route to expand business area and market share. Key participants profiled in the report include Austral Brick Company, Baggeridge Brick Plc, Boral Bricks, Boral Limited, Brampton Brick Limited, CRH Plc, CSR Limited, Dal-Tile Corporation, Florida Tile Industries, Hanson Building Products UK, Lanka Tiles Limited, Mohawk Industries, Monier Group GmbH, Pacific Coast Building Products, RHI AG, Tata Refractories Ltd., US Clay Tile, Vesuvius Group SA, and Wienerberger AG.
The research report titled “Clay Building Materials and Clay Refractories: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of industry and product overview, market trends/issues, product innovations, recent industry activity and profiles of market players worldwide. Analysis and overview is provided for major geographic markets such as US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Latin America. Market analytics are provided in terms of value for product segments including Clay Building Materials (Clay Bricks, Floor & Wall Tiles, and Other Clay Products), and Clay Refractories. The study provides historic data for an insight into market evolution over the period 2000 through 2006.