US demand to rise about 9% annually through 2018
Demand for bricks, blocks and pavers in the United States is forecast to rise about nine percent per annum from a low 2013 base to $9.3 billion in 2018. A recovery in construction expenditures across all market segments will be the primary driver of gains as the brick, block and paver market continues its recovery from declines related to the 2006 collapse of residential construction and subsequent economic recession. Rebounding new housing construction will have a particularly significant impact on demand growth.
Bricks to be fastest growing
Bricks, typically made of clay, will see the most rapid growth of any product, driven by the robust expected increases in new housing construction. Brick is used primarily as a siding material on residential buildings, most intensively in the single-family segment. After suffering steep declines after the 2006 collapse in housing construction, demand for brick remained low in 2013. Demand is forecast to post double-digit annual growth through 2018 to nearly $3 billion.
Dominant structural block segment to face competition from poured concrete
Structural block made up two-fifths of demand in 2013, the largest share of any product. Demand for such products is concentrated in nonresidential markets, where structural blocks are used both in foundations and in above-grade walls. Although residential buildings do not use structural block as intensively, foundations in such buildings represent a second important market. Spending on structural block is projected to reach $3.7 billion in 2018 on roughly eight percent annual growth, spurred by rebounding building construction expenditures. However, competition from other materials such as poured concrete foundations will restrain stronger gains.
Pavers, outdoor wall block to track industry average
Pavers and outdoor wall block are used in various hardscaping applications in residential, nonresidential, and nonbuilding markets. Many buildings use retaining walls to support earth or part of the weight of structures in areas where sloped land presents a danger of erosion. In addition, increasing interest in aesthetically pleasing features such as terraced landscaping and paver patios and walks will continue to support demand for hardscaping products across many markets. Furthermore, interest in green building materials such as permeable pavers or products made from recycled plastics will support consumption of hardscaping products.
Demand for pavers and outdoor wall block is concentrated in improvements and repairs, particularly in the residential market; consequently, demand for these products will not be boosted by rebounding new building construction and growth will not be as robust as that seen in brick demand. Through 2018, US demand for pavers is projected to grow nearly nine percent per annum to $1.6 billion while demand for outdoor wall block is projected to grow seven percent annually to just over $1 billion.