This comprehensive study analyzes the world market for the two main calcined gypsum-based products: drywall and building plaster. “Plasterboard”, “gypsum board”, and “wallboard” are among the other generic terms used for drywall products and are used synonymously in this study.
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Demand for and production of drywall and building plasters are broken out separately for selected countries and regions, along with demand by end use (residential versus nonresidential buildings). Drywall supply and demand are presented in square meters, while building plaster supply and demand are shown in metric tons.
Study Scope and Summary
Building plasters based on lime, cement, or other non-gypsum materials, as well as industrial gypsum-based plasters used in nonconstruction applications, are excluded from the scope of the study. Drywall used in nonconstruction applications is also excluded.
The most common dimension for standard drywall worldwide is 120 centimeters (cm) wide by 240 cm high by 1 cm to 1.25 cm thick – meaning that the weight per square meter for drywall in each country is similar. Even so, numerous other factors also affect the average weight of a square meter of drywall, including:
types of drywall used (e.g., water-resistant, fire-resistant, sheathing, veneer, mobile home, and ceiling tile)
weight of front and back faces
proportion of use in residential versus nonresidential applications
proportion of synthetic versus naturally mined gypsum material inside the drywall
Historical data for 2008, 2013, and 2018 are reported in square meters for drywall and in metric tons for building plaster, with forecasts provided for 2023 and 2028. Throughout this study, demand is related to various indicators for comparative purposes and to facilitate further analysis.
Global demand for drywall (also called plasterboard, wallboard, or gypsum board) and building plaster is forecast to rise 4.9% per year to $28.0 billion in 2023. Gains will be fueled by:
growth in building construction activity worldwide
rising adoption of drywall as a construction material
However, more modest growth is expected for building plaster, which is losing share to drywall and other building materials.
Drywall Gaining Share in New Nonresidential Buildings in Developing Markets
Drywall is well established as a construction product in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia due to its fire and moisture resistance and ease of installation. In developing parts of Asia, Central and South America, and the Africa/Mideast region, however, drywall has significant opportunities to make inroads against traditional construction methods. The strongest growth for drywall in these markets is expected in nonresidential buildings, where modern construction practices and materials tend to be adopted sooner than in the residential building industry.
Expanding & Modernizing Construction Industries Lead Asia/Pacific to Dominate Gains
Despite a sharp slowdown in new building construction in China and only modest gains expected in established markets like Japan and Australia, the Asia/Pacific region is expected to dominate the global market. The region is expected to post the fastest growth and account for 66% of new demand through 2023 due to:
ongoing strength of the building construction industries in industrializing countries such as India and Indonesia
the continued adoption of drywall at the expense of competing materials in the large Chinese market
Decline of Coal-Fired Power Plants Reducing the Supply of Synthetic Gypsum
Much of the gypsum used to manufacture drywall and building plaster is produced as a byproduct of the coal combustion process rather than sourced from mines. This synthetic gypsum provides a beneficial use for what would otherwise be waste and is of higher quality raw material than mined natural gypsum. However, coal-powered electricity generation is on the decline in the US and Europe, limiting the supply of synthetic gypsum to drywall manufacturers. Much of the new drywall production capacity installed in recent years has been located adjacent to coal power plants, forcing producers to find an alternative source of gypsum supply.