The global flat glass market stood at USD 87.2 billion in 2017. With less than 200 float-glass lines in the ’90s to more than 300 float lines in China at present, the flat glass industry has changed enormously in the past few years. Development in the construction sector, automobile, and food & beverage sector is the key factor driving the global flat glass market size.
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By 2025, the global flat glass market size is estimated to reach USD 150.38 billion by 2025 driven by the growing demand for the product from the end use industry, majorly from construction and automobile sector. Rising construction activities in the emerging economies coupled with favorable properties associated with glass are driving the global flat glass market growth.
In terms of application, construction accounted for over 80% of the global flat glass market share in 2017 and is projected to maintain its dominance over the foreseeable future. Growth in residential house building; commercial and industrial real estate construction, such as shopping centers, hotels, warehouses, office buildings, factories, etc. are thriving the global flat glass market.
Among the total flat glass production across the globe, 90% of the share is accounted by high-quality flat glass and rest accounts for low-quality float glass. 70% of this high-quality flat glass is used as safety & security glass in smart windows and 20% is used as solar control glass. The capability of smart glasses to change their shade on command or automatically is a dynamic property exhibited by this glass type which helps in the reduction of heat, glares, and also eliminates the need of shades and blinds, eventually creating more space.
Laminated glass is projected to post high gains in automobile applications, such as roof, side, and rear window. Nonetheless, advanced plastic polycarbonate shields that save the weight up to 30% with scratch resistance are likely to hamper the market gains of laminated glass in the automobile sector. The global laminated glass market demand is expected to be 4.92 billion square meters by 2025.
Apart from the tremendous demand from the construction and automobile sector, flat hollow glass is seeing growth in the food & beverage industry. Rising populace coupled with the need for efficient beverage packaging and excellent acoustic properties of glass makes it vital in the packaging industry. Glass bottles holds the major market revenue share in the glass packaging sector. For instance, in Europe container glass accounts for nearly 35% of the total packaging market for beverages, mainly in the form of glass bottles and jars.
In terms of region, Asia Pacific accounted for a major market revenue share of more than 50%, both in terms of volume and value in 2017. China is the largest consumer as well as the largest producer of flat glass worldwide and accounts for 60% of the global flat glass market demand, both in terms of Production and consumption.
Drivers shaping the global flat glass demand include, the growing acceptance of green buildings, energy conservation, decorative glass, and functional glass that enables digital printing in building and automobile. Furthermore, nanotechnology which is likely the future of the glass industry is estimated to drive the flat glass industry.
Technological advancement in terms of energy efficient machines in the production of glass is estimated to be the vital trend in foreseeable flat glass market. For instance, melting and refining is considered the most energy-intensive part of flat glass production and consumes nearly 70% of the total energy. Hence, there exists the important possibility for energy efficiency improvements both in process and service areas.
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