The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a significant negative impact on global flat glass sales in 2020, mainly due a reduction in building construction activity, which was responsible for 82% of total demand in volume terms in 2018. Beyond the pandemic, however, trends discussed in the Freedonia Group’s Global Flat Glass study still hold, as a significant change in the long-term outlook is not expected.
Extreme short-term effects expected due to COVID-19 crisis
In addition to weakness in construction activity, pandemic-triggered production shutdowns and supply chain disruptions in the motor vehicle market and a downgraded outlook for the solar energy market will result in short-term impacts on flat glass sales that could have lasting effects:
- Losses are expected to be particularly sharp in the nonresidential building construction segment, where weeks or months of lost sales activity will depress spending on new construction.
- Demand in the OEM motor vehicle market is expected to remain weak through 2020 and into 2021. While most manufacturers expect things to mostly return to normal well before the end of 2020, the negative demand shock caused by the crisis will likely linger.
- The solar energy market, which was expected to achieve a very strong performance in 2020, has also suffered during the COVID-19 crisis, primarily due to supply chain issues, as the majority of the world’s solar panels are manufactured in China.
Asia/Pacific market to drive global growth through 2023
The Asia/Pacific region is projected to account for 82% of the global increase in flat glass area demand through 2023, with China alone accounting for 68%:
- Growth will be driven by broad advances in industrialization and urbanization throughout the region.
- Several other Asia/Pacific countries are expected to rank among the world’s fastest growing flat glass markets, including India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
- Growth opportunities in India – which is forecast to become the world’s largest net importer of flat glass – have fueled investment in production in a number of other Asia/Pacific countries, most notably Malaysia, where major investments are driving substantial capacity expansions that could make Malaysia the second largest Asia/Pacific flat glass producer behind China.
Want to learn more?
See Global Flat Glass, now available from The Freedonia Group. This study covers the global flat glass industry and presents two unit measurements for flat glass – square meters (for demand and production) and metric tons (for production and capacity). Demand by market (residential and nonresidential building construction; OEM and aftermarket motor vehicle; solar energy and other markets) for fabricated flat glass is presented in US dollars. Fabricated flat glass includes both basic glass as well as processed and value-added products such as laminated, tempered, and insulating glass. Thus, the dollar values presented per square meter of flat glass in each country and region include the inherent value added by fabrication.