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Glass Production Sector: Latest Industry Trends and Statistics

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Global Glass Manufacturing Industry

The world glass industry generates yearly revenue of $75 billion, reports First Research. Leading exporting countries of glass and ceramics (two closely-related industries) are the US, France, Japan, China, India and Germany.

The most common products manufactured in the global glass industry are fiberglass, flat glass, glass containers and specialty products such as lenses, optic fibers, mirrors, glassware and TV tubes. The specialty products segment represents around 60% of revenue generated in the global glass industry.

End-use sectors such as the container, bottling, automotive and construction industries account for the greatest demand. Low-cost operations are key as price dictates product sales. Larger outfits benefit from efficiencies of scale, accounting for the industry’s high concentration. Smaller outfits compete through the production of specialty products and by concentrating their efforts on local markets.

Key Market Segments

The world glass packaging market is worth almost $35 billion in 2012, according to Visiongain. Growth in established markets will slow in the mature phase, while emerging markets will offer greater growth potential over coming years. Developing markets will benefit from rising levels of disposable income and increased consumer spending on food, beverage and cosmetics.

The world flat glass market is expected to record 3% annual growth between 2012 and 2015, reports Koncept Analytics. Market growth will be fuelled by demand for use in energy conservation and other sectors, economic growth, automotive industry growth, and increased infrastructural construction activity. The building construction industry represents the largest single end user for flat glass, followed by automotive applications. The EU, the US and China dominate the global flat glass market.

The global glass fiber sector has benefited from economic recovery driving demand since 2010, reports Industry Experts. In North America and the EU, there has been a decline in glass fiber reinforcement demand for end-user applications over the five-year period ending 2011, worsened by the Euro zone crisis. However, strong demand from Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific has lessened the overall blow to the market. China dominates the Asia-Pacific region, with a thriving glass fiber industry. Demand from other developing economies, including Brazil, India, Russia and Eastern Europe, is expected to rise in coming years due to investment in construction and infrastructure activity. Wind energy will witness the fastest rate of growth as end use application for glass fibers, exceeding 14% a year due to activity in the wind energy sector.

Smart glass is used to vary window transmittance and thermal properties in accordance with ambient conditions and specific occupant needs. Demand from end-user sectors like the automotive and construction industries is having a positive impact on the smart glass market. By 2020, smart glass for use in transportation and architectural facades, privacy screens and windows is expected to reach a value of $700 million.

Regional Market Share

There are around 2,000 glass companies operating in the US glass and glass product manufacturing market. These outfits generate combined yearly revenue of $20 billion, according to research from First Research. Owens-Illinois, Corning, Guardian and PPG are among the leading companies. The industry is characterized by a high degree of concentration, with the top 50 companies accounting for more than 80% of the overall market in terms of value.

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