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Report sees rising global demand for roofing

World demand for roofing materials is forecast to grow 3.8% annually through 2016, a substantial acceleration from the lethargic performance of the market during the 2006 to 2011 period, according to a study released by The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Gains in demand will be fueled by a major uptick in residential building construction activity as construction industries in major developed nations, such as the U.S., rebound from their recent weakness, the study said. Further growth will be supported by continued gains in developing markets, particularly in Asia.

Two countries, the U.S. and China, will jointly account for nearly 60% of global gains in roofing demand through 2016. China, the world’s largest market for roofing products in 2011, will continue its trend of strong growth and account for more than 30% of world market gains. The U.S, which experienced a collapse in new housing construction beginning in 2006, will rebound significantly, but in 2016 the U.S. roofing market will still be slightly below 2006 levels. Strong growth is also expected in a number of smaller roofing markets, including those in India, Indonesia, and South Africa. Although some developed countries will see fast, rebound-fueled growth similar to the U.S., market gains will typically be slower than in developing areas. Western Europe will be the slowest growing regional roofing market through 2016.

The mix of roofing materials used tends to vary from country to country, but bituminous (asphalt) and tile (clay and concrete) products dominated the global market in 2011, together accounting for 70% of demand in area terms. 

Bituminous products will post the fastest growth through 2016, primarily due to the heavy usage of asphalt shingles in the rebounding U.S. market. The U.S., which uses shingles far more intensively than most other nations, will account for almost 80% of worldwide growth in demand for these products, thanks to a major recovery in new single-family housing construction.  Demand for concrete roofing tiles will also show strong growth, particularly in the developing Asia/Pacific region, where concrete tiles account for the largest share of roofing demand.


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