Construction: Composites demand within the construction segment registered 6.2 percent growth from 2014 to 2015 in terms of the volume of shipments. Construction continues to be the second largest market for composite materials after transportation. The growth in housing starts is driving the demand of FRP bathtubs, doors, windows, panels and other applications.
Overall, U.S. housing starts grew for the sixth consecutive year, reaching approximately 1.14 million units in 2015. The growth was propelled by a continuous increase in employment, low mortgage rates and slowing house price inflation. Other major drivers for the market are the easing of lending standards and increasing funding support from state and local construction measures.
Aerospace: The aerospace industry is one of the largest and most important segments within composites. Lucintel estimates that composite materials demand in the U.S. aerospace industry grew by 9 percent in 2015 in terms of the volume of shipments and is likely to experience similar growth in the next five years.
Composite materials consumption has increased significantly in the commercial aerospace sector. In the 1990s, aircraft contained 5 to 6 percent composite materials, whereas today’s advanced aircraft programs utilize more than 50 percent composites content. Major OEMs, such as Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier, have robust plans to increase the monthly production rate of their major platforms. Boeing, the largest U.S. composite consumer in the aerospace industry, is expected to experience a 6.5 percent increase in annual commercial aircraft deliveries to 770 units in 2016.
Pipe & Tank: Demand for composite materials in the pipe and tank market declined by 5.5 percent in 2015 due to a huge drop in oil and gas activities. U.S. oil and gas companies decommissioned more than half their rigs and sharply cut investments in exploration and production. One main cause is the plunging price of oil, which decreased by more than 40 percent per barrel in 2015. According to Baker Hughes Inc., the rig count has fallen by more than 45 percent to an average of 1,026 during the first nine months of 2015.