US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Design Your Way Out of a Shortage?

In many cases, a change in product design or how a product is used is not a near-term solution to a shortage. However, manufacturers that can’t get the materials they need and believe this is more than a short-term challenge for the next few months are looking for longer term solutions.

This increasingly includes making changes to their product in terms of what materials are used to make it, how it is packaged, how it is shipped, and if there are reasonable alternatives to the product altogether.

For instance, a global sand shortage has challenged many industries. We’re not talking about sand for your kid’s sandbox. This is sand for reinforcing beaches and shorelines hammered by storms, and sand used to manufacture concrete and glass (the former used in buildings, roads, and bridges and the latter in buildings, electronics, insulation, packaging, and more).

Industries are looking for ways around this challenge. Examples of such efforts include:

  • repurpose ground down plastic waste, old car tires, or glass waste as a substitute for some of the sand used to produce concrete
  • change construction design to require less concrete
  • build less of some of the things that are made with concrete (e.g., driveways and sidewalks) or use an alternative material (e.g., aggregate, stone pavers, or more sustainable pavers made with waste materials)
  • develop a sustainability certification for sand mining

Creatively considering options, including those which had previously been too expensive to be practical, will allow all industries facing material shortages or longer term supply chain challenges to think beyond the current crisis and stay ahead of the competition.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Global Flat Glass, Global Cement & Concrete Additives, Global Construction Aggregates, and Landscaping Products. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.


Continuing Demand for Warehouse Space to Spur Construction Activity

According to a recent article, demand for warehouse space remains strong, spurred by:

  • continuing consumer interest in e-commerce, which has caused substantial increases in the number of packages mailed across the US
  • high levels of building construction activity, boosting shipments of bulky building materials, such as lumber, roofing, and siding
  • supply chain difficulties that have led to products spending more time in warehouses before they are sent to their final destination

This need for warehouse and distribution will support the construction of new storage facilities, driving demand for such materials as:

  • prefabricated metal buildings and components, such as insulated wall panels
  • prefabricated metal and wood roof and floor trusses
  • concrete for building foundations, floors, and ramps and loading docks
  • large overhead metal doors
  • insulation (for those structures holding refrigerated and frozen items)
  • wood and metal grating flooring (for multi-story storage facilities)
  • wiring, lighting fixtures, and electrical components

Furthermore, as more warehouses and storage facilities are erected, other products will be needed to outfit these buildings, including:

  • pallets
  • metal racking and supports
  • conveyor belts and other package retrieval system components
  • materials handling equipment, such as forklifts

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly in the Construction and Building Products. Freedonia also offers an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the current crisis with a comparison to recent recessions. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

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