China Remains Largest Global Market for Polyethylene Pipe

According to the new study Global Polyethylene Pipe, from The Freedonia Group, demand for polyethylene pipe in China totaled 4.2 million metric tons in 2019, making it by far the world’s largest market with 33% of global demand and 59% of regional sales:

  • China possesses massive agriculture, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and utility sectors, all of which support plastic pipe demand.
  • China’s diverse process manufacturing industry – including chemicals, food processing, primary metals, pulp and paper, and textiles – further supports sales.

China’s construction sector is nearly four times the size of that of the US, the next largest national market, with its sales of polyethylene pipe around three times larger within that market. China’s infrastructure investment continues to make great strides, with product sales relative to population nearly double the global average. Nevertheless, the US remains a more intensive user of plastic pipe on a per capita basis across many applications.

Globally, demand for polyethylene pipe is projected to grow 3.7% per year to 15.3 million metric tons in 2024, driven by increasing use of PE pipe across all markets. HDPE pipe demand will record healthy growth on average through 2024 as pipe made from this resin is favored over other materials in water and sewer applications.