Things Are Starting to Look Up Again in the Global Ceiling Market

Things Are Starting to Look Up Again in the Global Ceiling Market

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was especially hard on the global market for ceilings. That’s because the majority of ceiling products are installed in nonresidential buildings, spending on which saw steep declines worldwide because of the pandemic, especially in the US:

  • Social distancing and lockdown measures affected both where and how workers around the world went about their jobs. It also changed supply and demand patterns, causing uncertainty in the financial situation of many business owners, which in turn depressed investment in new construction projects and, in many sectors, building renovations as well.
  • Public spending – another key driver of nonresidential construction – fell sharply during the pandemic, as governments contended with the extreme revenue losses incurred from economic shutdowns.

As a result, global demand for ceilings declined in 2020. Though price increases and expanding home renovation activity in the US prevented further demand losses, the ceilings market is expected to rebound strongly going forward, especially in the Asia/Pacific region and Europe, as:

  • nonresidential construction outlooks improve
  • product adoption rises in developing countries, particularly in China, India, and Indonesia

A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts global demand for ceiling products to increase 4.7% annually to $8.4 billion in 2025. Below we examine some of the key growth drivers identified in the study.

Rebounding Nonresidential Construction in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Boost Gains

The nonresidential market dominates the global ceiling product market, accounting for 93% of demand in 2020. This sector’s dominance is directly attributable to the popularity of drywall or plaster in residential buildings, as well as the high cost and impracticality of many ceiling products in residences, particularly in the developing world.

Through 2025, global demand growth for ceiling products in the nonresidential sector will be driven by:

  • rapid advances in new nonresidential building construction in China, Indonesia, and India
  • rising nonresidential renovation activity in the US, Canada, and Western Europe, following a decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • global design trends favoring enhanced acoustics and aesthetics, resulting in the use of a variety of ceiling products in nonresidential buildings

However, the nonresidential sector’s post-pandemic recovery will continue to lag that of the residential market, restraining faster growth in the global ceiling market. A number of factors will hinder a faster recovery in nonresidential construction, including ongoing weakness in public spending as government revenues remain depressed in the wake of the pandemic.

Asia/Pacific Region to Account for 34% of New Global Demand Through 2025

The Asia/Pacific region will drive global demand for ceiling products, growing at an above average pace and accounting for 34% of total gains through 2025. A large number of countries in the region are developing or upgrading infrastructure, leading to increased installation of both basic and specialty products:

  • Shifts away from wet construction methods will benefit increased use of prefabricated products such as ceiling tiles, as will increased focus on improving acoustics and aesthetics in more industrial settings.
  • Higher value specialty products are being increasingly adopted in higher income areas such as South Korea as well as in buildings that see much outside traffic, such as airports, metro and train stations, and public spaces in hotels and cultural buildings.

As the stock of buildings with installed ceilings increases, replacement demand will also grow, especially for products like ceiling tiles, which can be easily damaged.

Penetration of Specialty Products to Increase in All Global Regions

Among ceiling products, specialty types are projected to see the fastest growth through 2025, as adoption rises in developing countries and these products continue to gain market share in nonresidential renovation projects in the US and Western Europe, where the vast majority of specialty product demand is derived.

Historically high-end custom products from designers and architects, specialty ceilings are becoming more accessible to a wide consumer base due to advances in both software design technology and fabrication processes:

  • Parametric modeling – while not a new development – is gaining traction among architects and ceiling manufacturers as software improves. This software allows for the production of “mass customized” ceilings for large nonresidential buildings such as libraries, educational facilities, airports, museums, and hotels.
  • Laser cutting and perforation technology allow ceiling products – particularly those made of metal – to be customized into unique shapes, designs, and to improve both acoustics and light. While some manufacturers offer standard patterns, others offer unique ones that can change from one panel to the next.
  • New manufacturing techniques are also increasing the size of ceiling products, such by allowing production of ultra-flat, lightweight honeycomb metal panels and large, custom-sized stretch ceilings.
  • While limitations to widespread use of 3D printing as a manufacturing process remain, the technology offers great potential for the creation of unique ceiling products and even entire ceiling systems. Because 3D printing adds material rather than subtracts it, it has the potential to significantly reduce material usage and waste. In turn, less material can lead to weight reduction, as demonstrated by the concrete ceiling ETH Zurich printed for its DFAB House, which is less than half the weight of ceilings made of concrete slabs.

Want to Learn More?

Global Ceilings is now available from the Freedonia Group.

About the Author:

Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on an array of industries.