Global demand for insulation is forecasted to rise 4.3 percent per year to $55.2 billion in 2022, when sales in volume terms, excluding reflective insulation and radiant barriers, will total 31.7 million metric tons. Going forward, demand for insulation products will be driven by:

  • Advances in nonresidential building construction, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region.
  • Gains in average housing unit sizes and the construction of single-family housing.
  • Increasingly stringent energy efficiency and fire safety policies throughout the world, which often call for greater insulation usage in buildings.
  • Rising production of motor vehicles, appliances, aerospace equipment, HVAC equipment, and industrial equipment.

Developing Countries Offer Best Growth Opportunities

Leading Industry Players

  • Knauf Gips
  • Owens Corning
  • ROCKWOOL International 
  • Saint-Gobain

The sizable stock of substandard housing units in the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions—which together account for more than 75 percent of the world’s population—present a significant growth opportunity. Governments in a number of developing countries in these areas are working to improve housing quality, including through the adoption of minimum insulation requirements. Additionally, insulation sales in these countries will be driven by:

  • Improving income levels and standards of living in developing countries.
  • Rural to urban migration, leading to increased construction in urban areas, where buildings generally use more insulation than those in rural areas.

China will record by far the largest gains of any country, accounting for one-third of value increases through 2022.

Building Markets Continue to Drive Global Insulation Industry

In 2017, residential and nonresidential buildings accounted for two-thirds of the global insulation market, a share that is expected to climb through 2022, as construction activity and average home sizes increase and construction practices in developing countries improve, resulting in greater insulation usage.

Foamed Plastic to Remain the Dominant Insulation Material

Despite the popularity of fiberglass in North America and of mineral wool in Eastern Europe, foamed plastic is projected to account for the majority of value gains globally through 2022. Strong expansion of the insulation market in the Asia/Pacific region— where foamed plastic is the most used insulation material—will strengthen the material’s leading position. Additionally, foamed plastic suppliers will benefit from advances in the nonresidential market, which is expected to be the fastest growing, as nonresidential buildings are intensive users of foamed plastic.