Plastic Pipe

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Pipe

Demand for plastic pipe is expected to rise 2.9% annually to $19.6 billion in 2026, a significant deceleration from the 2016-2021 period due to a notable slowdown in price growth from a high 2021 level. Demand will be driven by installation of pipe in the potable water, conduit, DWV, and storm and sanitary sewer markets as well as by the increasing use of larger diameter plastic pipes in some applications:

  • Plastic pipe will continue to take share from copper pipe, primarily in potable water applications, due to its corrosion resistance, low cost, and ease of installation.
  • Better resin formulations and enhanced processing technologies will continue to make plastic pipe more competitive in large diameter applications, such as those related to natural gas distribution and storm and sanitary sewers.

Major Spike in PVC & PEX Prices in 2021 Leads to Record Year in Value Terms

In 2021, average prices of PVC and PEX spiked 38% and 25%, respectively. The significant increase in prices was due to:

  • major increases in raw material prices, as inflation reached 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 pipe demand in value terms. In linear feet terms, demand continued to grow despite rising prices, as the continued strength of home construction and renovation supported sales of potable water pipe.

HDPE & PEX to Experience Strong Growth Through 2026

Demand for HDPE and PEX pipe is expected to grow rapidly due to a number of performance advantages enabled by the flexibility of these materials. HDPE will find the greatest sales opportunities in the storm and sanitary sewer market, while PEX will continue to gain share in potable water distribution:

  • HDPE’s flexibility makes it well suited for trenchless installation methods such as slip lining and horizontal directional drilling.
  • PEX’s flexibility also facilitates installation in the water distribution market, as it can be bent around obstacles and cut easily.

Water & Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades to Benefit Plastic Pipe Suppliers

Water and sewer supply construction spending is forecast to see relatively healthy growth through 2026, as many communities face replacement of their aging water infrastructure. Federal spending is expected to constitute a significant driver of growth in these applications, boosted by the passage of federal infrastructure legislation.

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