Gravity pipes in Europe: a EUR 6 billion market

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  • 2 million tons of plastic materials go into the manufacture of gravity pipes
  • Demand still below that of 2007 peak
  • Plastic pipes dominate market in smaller diameter pipes

The current European market for gravity (non-pressure) pipes has been estimated at approx. Euro 6 billion, according to a market study recently completed by Applied Market Information Ltd (AMI Consulting).

2 million tons of plastic materials go into the manufacture of gravity pipes

In 2015, circa 2 million metric tonnes of plastic materials, comprising PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene and ABS, will be used in the manufacture of gravity pipes. In addition to plastic pipes, the study quantifies the demand for GRP (Glass-Reinforced Polymer) pipes, ductile iron pipes, vitrified clay and concrete pipes, thus enabling an assessment of inter-material competition trends.

Demand still below that of 2007 peak

“The European demand for gravity pipes is still below that of the 2007 peak”, explains Noru Tsalic, the study’s author. “However, 2014 and 2015 have marked a reversal of trend. The European demand has increased, though growth is still modest and very uneven across the various European regions.”

Under the study’s economic assumptions, Tsalic predicts that demand for plastic pipes will pick up in the next five years, reaching circa 2.3 million metric tonnes by 2020. Plastic pipes suppliers will benefit from a certain recovery in construction activity, but also from continued substitution of non-plastic materials, especially vitrified clay and concrete.

Total demand for polymers in gravity plastic pipes applications (million metric tonnes)

Plastic pipes dominate market in smaller diameter pipes

Plastic pipes already dominate the market in smaller diameter pipes, but the plastic pipes industry still faces the challenge of how to increase plastics’ market penetration in larger diameters, where traditional materials still hold strong positions.

‘Gravity Pipes – European Market 2015’ is a detailed, 300-page report, complete with 157 data tables and 73 charts. The study covers 31 European countries (i.e., the 28 European Union members, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland).

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