Plastic pipe has penetrated most small diameter construction applications due to its light weight, low cost, and ease of installation. Going forward, plastic pipe is also expected to gain share in larger diameter applications, such as water and sewer, oil and gas, and industrial processing.
The intensity of plastic pipe use varies by market. In the global construction market, plastic is the dominant pipe material, while in oil and gas applications, plastic accounts for only a small share of total pipe consumption.
While plastic pipe is well suited for construction applications, it has been used in industrial and oil and gas settings less often because of the presence of high temperatures, corrosive chemicals, and extreme pressures. However, innovations and improvements in resin formulations have enhanced the resistances to pressure and chemicals and other performance advantages of plastic pipe, which enables its use in a wider array of markets.
Demand for plastic pipe is expected to expand at a 2.9% annual rate through 2024 to 25.7 billion meters:
- Construction will remain the largest market for plastic pipe by far. Advances in the construction market will be driven by infrastructure investment in developing countries, particularly China and India. In higher-income countries, advances will be limited largely to repair and replacement activity, as the average growth in new construction is restricted by the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Demand for plastic pipe in the energy market, the second largest plastic pipe market by length, will see relatively healthy advances increasing inroads by HDPE pipe over steel in gas distribution applications.
- Agriculture will see the slowest growth of any type of plastic pipe going forward due to the lack of significant expansion in global irrigated land area.
- The industrial/structural/mechanical market for plastic pipe, which comprises 6% of pipe demand, is expected to see solid increases, stimulated by growth in process manufacturing activity in the Asia/Pacific region.
These trends and more are presented in the new study Global Plastic Pipe from The Freedonia Group.