Building sector fuels precast market’s projected 6.4 percent annual growth

Sources: Freedonia Group, Cleveland; CP staff

Led by architectural and structural building product demand, U.S. precast concrete shipments are on track to rise from $8.9 billion in 2013 to $12.15 billion in 2018. Time-saving and quality control advantages will enable precast to capture more market share from cast-in-place and steel alternatives over the next four years, according to the authors of a new Freedonia study.

Precast Concrete Products sees overall shipments climbing 6.4 percent annually through 2018, based on an average of projected gains from 2013 forward in six sectors and miscellaneous category:

  • Structural Building Components, $2.95 billion to $4.5 billion; 8.8 percent
  • Architectural Building Components, $2.24 billion to $3.23 billion; 7.6 percent
  • Transportation Products, $1.76 billion to $2 billion; 2.7 percent
  • Water & Waste Handling Products, $875 million to $1 billion; 4.1 percent
  • Utility Products, $490 million to $645 million; 5.2 percent
  • Cemetery Products, $355 million to $375 million; 1.1 percent
  • Other Products, $240 million to $320 million; 5.9 percent

Nonresidential building applications accounted for the largest share of 2013 precast concrete product demand and are expected to see the most rapid gains over researchers’ 2014-18 horizon. “Advances will be fueled by rebounding construction expenditures and rising interest in precast concrete products because of their performance properties,” notes Freedonia analyst Matt Zielenski.

The ability to mimic building materials that are more expensive and difficult to install, such as brick and natural stone, also favors greater demand for precast concrete, he adds, especially roofing tiles, siding and fencing products. Freedonia researchers forecast the residential market for precast concrete exhibiting above average growth, nearing 8 percent annually through 2018, when shipments could total $2.3 billion. In nonbuilding applications, they see precast tonnage rising modestly through 2018, with overall gains reflecting tepid growth in government spending. Limited growth will be supported by the need to repair the nation’s aging network of bridges, highways, roads, water and sewer systems, and power distribution grids.

Precast Concrete Products (January 2015, 329 pages) is available for $5,200 from Freedonia Group, Inc., 440/684.9600;