When we think of leading-edge industries and emerging sectors of the growing economy, sheet metal supply isn’t generally the first thought. This industry is typically regarded as part of the “old world economy,” alongside other trades and industrial fields.
But, just because sheet metal supply has been a mainstay in the economy for the better part of a century doesn’t mean an old dog can’t learn a few new tricks! In fact, there are several exciting trends within the sheet metal supply sector that signal a surge of emerging industries—or rather a resurgence of old industries that have rapidly become relevant again.
Just how prolific are these emerging industries? Only a few years ago in 2015, the global metal fabrication market was valued at $16.35B; today, it’s forecasted to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.0% and is set to reach $21.38B by 2024. Let’s take a look at 4 sectors powering this phenomenal growth.
1. Commercial Ductwork and HVAC
With infrastructure and construction industries booming, the demand for commercial ductwork is on the rise. More than just the demand for sheet metal to fabricate custom ductwork, new legislation and regulatory policies are making it easier for HVAC providers to get a leg-up when it comes to economic growth.
As of Jan 2018, the Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) Industry Alliance has officially lobbied for legislative and regulatory policies that enhance growth and opportunity within the HVACR industry. Specifically, they’ve focused on 6 key goals, including workforce development and better energy practices.
These demands have been met, opening up new opportunities for commercial HVAC work and spurring high demand for sheet metal supply.
2. Automotive Parts Fabrication (Aftermarket/OEM)
It’s getting more expensive to be a vehicle owner these days! That means, instead of buying new cars people are becoming more content to fix the one they have. This directly translates into a higher demand for automotive parts—both aftermarket and OEM. But the ripple effects don’t stop there! Demand for auto parts means demand for metal products, which pushes demand all the way back to suppliers.
With chain auto parts stores, dealerships and internet retailers seeing more demand for auto parts, this industry is emerging as a frontrunner fueling demand for metal supply.
3. Premanufactured Metal Buildings
Another trend powered by the shift towards more construction, premanufactured buildings are becoming a mainstay within the commercial construction sector. And, because these buildings are fabricated almost entirely of sheet metals, they’re driving high demand for supply.
Huge demand for premanufactured metal buildings is high in the agricultural sector, as well as for standalone commercial businesses. As their rise in popularity continues, these buildings will be a key driver for sheet metal suppliers. And, when you consider the sheer size of a prefabricated structure, it’s no wonder this industry ranks high among catalysts for higher sheet metal demand.
4. Residential and Commercial Appliances
Quite opposite of cars—which people are choosing to keep and fix—appliances are trending in the other direction. Today’s modern appliances are better, more energy efficient and smarter than even appliances from 5 years ago, which is pushing huge demand from residential and commercial consumers alike. And, because they’re primarily made of metal, increased appliance demand has been a direct catalyst for increased sheet metal demand.
While some of these markets may be considered cyclical in terms of demand, there’s no denying that the overall demand for sheet metal is on the rise in a sustainable way. Whether it continues to be powered by these 4 sectors remains to be seen, but there’s ample evidence to suggest they won’t slow down anytime soon.