Major Spike in PVC, Steel, & Copper Prices in 2021 Leads to Record Year for Pipe Market

Cleveland OH, July 12, 2022 – Sharp increases in average prices for key raw materials drove a surge in the US pipe market in value terms in 2021, finds a new Freedonia Group analysis.

In 2021, average prices of PVC, steel, and copper pipe spiked 38%, 48%, and 49%, respectively. The significant increase in prices was due to a number of factors including:

  • major increases in raw material prices, as inflation reaches the highest levels in the US in over 40 years
  • significant supply chain issues and shortages

These price increases led to a massive spike in value demand in 2021 that was boosted by a return to growth in pipe usage. In linear feet terms, demand accelerated from a nearly flat 2020, as the oil and gas drilling, industrial processing, and structural and mechanical markets rebounded due to rising gas prices and increasing durable goods production.

As Material Prices Moderate, Pipe Demand Expected to Slow Through 2026

Through 2026, demand for pipe products in the US is forecast to increase 2.2% per year to $57.9 billion, equivalent to 12.9 billion linear feet. Growth in value terms is projected to decelerate significantly due mostly to the expectation that average prices of plastic and metal pipe will moderate going forward. However, volume gains will be driven by:

  • a rebound in oil and gas drilling activity
  • increasing water and sewer construction
  • healthy growth in transportation equipment manufacturing
  • rising production of air conditioners and refrigerators, particularly larger and higher end models that require more tubing

Want to Learn More?

Pipes Products & Markets provides historical data (2011, 2016, and 2021) and forecasts for the years 2026, and 2031 for the following competitive pipe materials:

  • steel
  • plastic (broken out by PVC, HDPE, PEX, CPVC, fiberglass, ABS, and other resins)
  • copper
  • ductile iron
  • concrete
  • aluminum
  • other nonferrous metals (e.g., titanium, nickel)
  • clay

Also included are breakouts for pipe markets:

  • structural and mechanical (refrigeration and HVAC equipment, appliances, transportation equipment, other structural and mechanical products)
  • potable water (water transmission, water distribution, service and rural water)
  • oil and natural gas (oil and natural gas drilling and transmission, natural gas distribution)
  • storm and sanitary sewer
  • conduit
  • industrial processing
  • drain, waste, and vent
  • irrigation