After a five-year slump, the rebound in construction expenditures is leading to an increased demand for plumbing fixtures and fittings. According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. the U.S. demand for plumbing fixtures and fittings will advance over six percent through 2017, when the industry is expected to reach twelve billion dollars.
The strongest growth in fixture purchases has been coming from new residential construction, a trend that is likely to continue. New residential construction is expected to account for a 20 percent increase annually, due to an increase in units built and a commensurate increase in the number of fixtures per unit. Rising incomes and a more stable economy are also leading to a rise in home remodeling activity, with bathroom and kitchen remodels topping the list of residential home building projects. Consumer demand for water and energy-efficient plumbing fixtures will see homeowners replacing older fixtures with new products that conserve water and lead to lower utility bills.
The gains from non-residential construction are expected to be slightly lower than in those in the residential market, but the numbers will reflect a recovering economy and higher consumer confidence. Increased commercial construction will drive the demand, but the emphasis on LEED certification will lead to the replacement of old and inefficient fixtures with newer, water- and energy-conserving plumbing fixtures in commercial buildings.
Interestingly, the demand for plumbing fixtures is expected to outpace the demand for plumbing fittings. Residential improvement activity such as alterations and remodels will call for more fixtures, but not more fittings. The demand for faucets, sinks, toilets, and big-ticket items such as whirlpool bathtubs and spa showers will eclipse that of pipes and connectors because many consumers want more out of their existing bathrooms and kitchens without having to add-on. For example, homeowners will install multiple sinks in the kitchen for more convenience. Multiple heads will be added to an enlarged existing shower for a spa experience, or the old bath tub will be replaced with a whirlpool model to enhance comfort.
U.S. shipment of plumbing fixtures is expected to trail demand. Recovery in the American housing market will boost shipments of American fixtures somewhat, but they are competing with lower-cost imports from Asia, Central Europe, and South America.