The surge in the production of smartphones, the increasing penetration of artificial intelligence (AI) in commercial and consumer applications, and the decline in the price of consumer electronic devices are some of the main factors that may drive market growth of glass.
Overview of the Global Glass Market
In 2019, the global glass manufacturing market was worth US$127.1 billion, and the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2020 to 2027 is expected to be 4.1%. Advanced glass is a special grade of glass. Advanced glass has unique functions and characteristics designed to adapt to various applications. This advanced glass feature makes them suitable for different industries, such as architecture and construction, aerospace, and defense, automotive, electronics, sports and leisure, and optics. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, global manufacturing including electronic products, the closure of major global manufacturing centers, and strict travel restrictions imposed by various countries are the main reasons for the decline in manufacturing output in 2020.
China is expected to expand at a significant compound annual growth rate from 2020 to 2027. Compared with other countries such as the United States, Germany, and France, China's manufacturing industry has recovered more quickly from the COVID-19 epidemic, which is the main factor that may promote the recovery of the Chinese market. Although the growth rate has shrunk in the past two years, due to the Chinese government's focus on affordable housing development, China's housing and construction industries are expected to rebound, and China is the main end industry for flat glass. This may play an important role in promoting glass manufacturing shortly.
In addition to China, compared with European and North American economies, Asian economies such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Malaysia are also expected to recover quickly from the COVID-19 epidemic. Therefore, the growth space of the glass manufacturing market in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be profitable.
What Is Glass?
Glass is a transparent, non-crystalline, amorphous solid. It has many important applications in various industries. The most common glass products are windows and bottles.
The glass type is mainly made of soda ash and silica and other additives. Recycled glass is also often used to produce new glass. There are two main methods of producing glass. The first is the float glass process used to manufacture architectural glass. The second is the glass blowing process, which produces containers such as bottles and jars.
Glass Process Steps:
Melting and Refining: The fine-grained ingredients with strictly controlled quality are mixed into a batch, flowed into the furnace, and heated to 1500 degrees Celsius, which is the melting point of the glass.
Floating Bath: The glass from the furnace flows gently from the refractory nozzle to the mirror surface of the molten tin, starting at 1100 degrees Celsius, and then leaving the float bath as a solid ribbon at 600 degrees Celsius.
Coating (for making reflective glasses): The coating can be applied to the cooling zone of the glass through advanced high-temperature technology so that the optical performance can be profoundly changed. On-line chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is the most important advancement in the float process since its invention. CVD can be used to lay down various coatings, such as a few microns thick, to reflect visible and infrared radiation. As the glass flows under the coating machine, multiple coatings can be deposited in a few seconds.
Annealing: Although the glass is calm during forming, as the glass cools, considerable stresses are generated in the glass ribbon. When the glass gradually cools, the glass is moved through the annealing furnace, where this internal stress is eliminated, making the glass easier to cut.
Check: To ensure the highest quality, glass manufacturers conduct inspections at every stage. Sometimes, bubbles that are not removed during the refining process, sand grains that refuse to melt, or vibrations in a tin can cause ripples in the glass ribbon. There are two things about the automatic online check. It reveals upstream process faults that can be corrected. It enables downstream computers to bypass these defects. Inspection technology now allows 100 million inspections of the ribbon per second to locate defects that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Tailor to order: When the diamond steel trims the edge (pressed edge) and cuts the ribbon to the size specified by the computer, the entire glass manufacturing process is completed and the final glass product is manufactured.
Analysis of Glass Products
In 2019, glass containers occupied a dominant position in the glass market with a sales share of about 50%. The increasing demand for alcoholic beverages, coupled with the rapid growth of the beer industry in Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe, is expected to drive the growth of the glass container market in the future.
From 2020 to 2027, glass fiber is expected to grow at the fastest compound annual growth rate of 4.5%. In terms of revenue, glass fiber is widely used in automobile manufacturing due to its lightweight and high strength characteristics and is the main driver of growth. Increased use of glass fiber in the construction of composite materials and insulation applications will further promote the future growth of the glass fiber market.
Flat glass is expected to achieve significant growth between 2020 and 2027. Solar energy applications may be critical to driving product demand in the next few years. Due to the depletion of non-renewable resources, advances in solar technology, environmental issues, and the reduction in the cost of solar installations, the number of installations of solar installations worldwide has increased rapidly.
Analysis of the Application Fields of Glass
In 2019, the packaging industry dominated the market with a revenue share of about 45%, which was attributed to the increase in consumer disposable income, especially in the emerging economies of Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, and the widespread demand for consumer-packaged goods.
From 2020 to 2027, in terms of revenue, electronic applications are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.0%. The growth momentum can be attributed to the continuous innovation and rapid expansion of consumer electronic equipment production. In the next few years, the penetration rate of scratch-resistant glass in tablet computers and smartphones will continue to increase, which may promote the substantial growth of the glass products market.
The construction industry was the second-largest application area of the glass market in 2019. Due to the rapid population growth and the recovery of the construction industry in the developed economies of North America and Europe, the increase in private and public expenditures in the residential construction industry in the emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific region may drive the glass market.
Regional Insights of Glass Market
The Asia-Pacific region dominates the market with about 50% of sales in 2019. During the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the economic growth of Asian developing countries was expected to drop sharply to 2.2%, and then rebound sharply to more than 6% in 2021. Therefore, the market growth in the Asia-Pacific region in the next few years may be relatively strong.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India is expected to witness the fastest compound annual growth rate from 2020 to 2027. As Western economies in North America and Europe plan to relocate their manufacturing bases from China, disruptions in the global supply chain may create the largest vacancies, which are expected to be filled by India. Therefore, it is expected that the Indian market will have a significant growth trend.
North American Market:
North America was the third-largest market in 2019. Although the packaging industry still accounts for a major share of the market, the demand for large-scale coated architectural flat glass has grown rapidly over the past few years. In the years to come after the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend is likely to continue and benefit the growth of the regional market.
Europe is dominated by container glass. Compared with other products, due to the extensive demand for alcoholic beverages and beer in Europe, the demand for container glass is relatively high. It is expected that the European market will see slow growth in the next few years. Due to the impact of COVID-19, its economic recovery is expected to take a long time.