A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts pipe demand to increase 2.2% annually to $57.9 billion in 2026, with growth coming mostly from volume increases as average prices for some metal and plastic products are expected to decline following a major spike in 2021:
- The structural and mechanical market – which accounts for the largest share of pipe demand in value terms – will see gains driven by ongoing growth in refrigerator and air conditioner production.
- The oil and gas market will grow at the fastest rate as drilling activity significantly rebounds from the declines of the prior five-year period.
- A decline in copper pipe pricing will cause DWV demand in value terms to decline, but in linear feet terms, demand will rise as more bathrooms per structure are installed in residential and commercial buildings.
Oil & Gas Market Rebound to Support Growth
The oil and gas market is expected to be the fastest growing pipe market, supported by a significant rebound in the number of wells drilled in the US as oil and natural gas prices increase from very low levels in 2020 and early 2021. Oil and gas drilling activity has increased significantly in 2022, as international production has not been able to keep up with demand and sanctions against Russia have limited the supply of available oil, causing prices to increase at a rapid pace.
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Pipes Products & Markets provides historical data (2011, 2016, and 2021) and forecasts for the years 2026, and 2031 for the following competitive pipe materials:
- plastic (broken out by PVC, HDPE, PEX, CPVC, fiberglass, ABS, and other resins)
- ductile iron
- other nonferrous metals (e.g., titanium, nickel)
Also included are breakouts for pipe markets:
- structural and mechanical (refrigeration and HVAC equipment, appliances, transportation equipment, other structural and mechanical products)
- potable water (water transmission, water distribution, service and rural water)
- oil and natural gas (oil and natural gas drilling and transmission, natural gas distribution)
- storm and sanitary sewer
- industrial processing
- drain, waste, and vent