A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts demand for bricks, blocks, and pavers to rise 2.1% annually to $8.1 billion in 2025, supported by the rising popularity of hardscaping and outdoor living, which benefits installation of paved patios, outdoor fireplaces, and retaining walls:
- While unit sales of bricks, blocks, and pavers will remain elevated into 2022, they will begin to decline from their peak as residential construction activity, which surged during the pandemic, moderates, dragging down average growth through 2025.
- Increased competition from other materials like fiber cement that can mimic the brick aesthetic at lower cost will hinder unit growth, as will declining interest in indoor fireplaces, especially those faced in brick, in newly constructed homes.
As a result, price increases will be the biggest driver of value demand gains for bricks, blocks, and pavers through 2025, as demand moderates from pandemic-driven highs.
However, from continuing elevated home renovation activity in the short term, to rebounding commercial construction activity over the longer term, numerous growth opportunities exist, especially in key applications such as hardscaping and siding. Below, we identify some of the big trends fueling growth in the concrete blocks, bricks, and pavers market.
Strongest Gains Expected in the Commercial Market, Boosting Prospects for Concrete Blocks
The commercial market will remain the leading application for brick, block, and paver demand and post the strongest demand gains through 2025.
In contrast to the residential market, which remained surprisingly strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial building construction declined in 2020 and has remained weak in 2021 due to caution on the part of developers and uncertainty among occupants regarding how much spaces is needed near term.
Spending on these structures is expected to recover beginning in 2022 and expand annually through 2025, driving demand gains for structural concrete blocks, which are used both in foundations and in above-grade structural walls in a variety of commercial buildings.
Demand growth will be strongest for institutional buildings such as educational and healthcare structures, where concrete masonry is used intensively. Concrete block demand is also expected to increase in office buildings, retail establishments, and industrial facilities.
Brick Demand Supported by Residential Aesthetics & Outdoor Trends
As in 2020, rising spending on residential buildings, particularly single-family homes, will continue to boost demand for bricks used in a variety of applications in 2021 and 2022, with the majority of gains occurring in hardscaping and siding:
- While brick continues to face competition from other siding materials, such as fiber cement and synthetic brick, its durability and aesthetic remains popular, particularly in the South where most new homes are being built.
- The increasing popularity of outdoor living has boosted demand for site-built outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, which are frequently made of brick.
Through 2025, however, brick demand is expected to peter out from the elevated levels seen during the pandemic, as the market becomes sated and new housing contracts from highs earlier in the period. However, some growth will be supported by gains in the commercial market, as increasing construction and investment in commercial buildings supports demand for bricks.
Interest in Outdoor Living to Fuel Hardscaping Gains
Already a fast-growing trend pre-pandemic, interest in outdoor living soared in 2020 as homeowners sought to improve the functionality of their outdoor spaces in order to provide a safe and aesthetically pleasing area to socialize and entertain.
The rising popularity of outdoor living will continue to spur a variety of home renovation projects, many of which will involve the use of bricks, blocks, and pavers. This impact will be strongest in 2021 as homeowners take on projects – including walkways, backyard gardens, patios, installation of fencing, and entertainment areas – they did not complete in 2020.
The trend is also increasingly important in the commercial market. From restaurant owners sprucing up outdoor dining areas, to offices and retail establishments installing hardscaped greenspaces to entice employees and customers to return, commercial investment in outdoor living is growing in the wake of the pandemic.
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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.