Pipes should last a long time, avoid that waste water or chemicals seep away, but at the same time be easy to handle. This is why plastic – instead of metal or concrete – is increasingly used in piping systems. “The price of raw materials, like steel or copper, does also play a crucial role,” explains Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana Research. The market research institute has scrutinized the European plastic pipe market from top to bottom.
While two thirds of all sewers in Europe are still made of concrete or vitrified clay, plastic pipes are already more frequently used than metal pipes in home sanitary installations. The most popular material for plastic pipes is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with a 45% share, followed by polyethylene with 36%. Ceresana Research expects that especially polypropylene will be increasingly used over the next years, whereas the use of PVC will stagnate. Since the East European infrastructure networks have to be expanded, the demand for plastic pipes in this region is growing stronger than in the West. In Eastern Europe, sales of PVC pipes are still rising, while only better quality pipes made of polyethylene or polypropylene record growth rates on the relatively saturated markets in Western Europe. Ceresana Research expects that revenues from plastic pipes in Europe will rise to €9.7 billion by 2018. In Western Europe, about half of all plastic pipes are used for sewage disposal. In Eastern Europe, sewage disposal only accounts for one third of the demand for plastic pipes. Applications in drinking water and gas supply are of greater importance in this region. The largest share of the European plastic pipe market is accounted for by Germany with 14%, followed by Spain, France, Italy, and Turkey.