U.S. demand for geosynthetics is forecast to advance 4.1% per year to 865 million yd.2 in 2006, according to The Freedonia Group Inc. Demand will be driven by growing consumer awareness of the benefits of geosynthetics in various applications, fueled by an ongoing consumer education effort on the part of manufacturers and industry organizations.
The result will be greater penetration of geosynthetics in a broader array of applications. Further gains will be restrained somewhat by the projected deceleration of nonbuilding expenditures through 2006.
In value terms, growth will lag somewhat because of overcapacity and the resulting difficult pricing environment for certain geosynthetic products, the report stated.
Geotextiles to remain dominant
Geotextiles accounted for the largest share of demand for geosynthetics in 2001, with roughly 75% of volume sales. However, geosynthetic sales in value terms is led by geomembranes, which cost more than geotextiles on a dollars per sy basis. Smaller volume geosynthetic products, such as geogrids, are expected to achieve stronger demand growth through 2006, albeit from a small base.
Gains for these smaller volume products will be driven by the ongoing development of new applications as well as the growth of pre-fabricated geocomposite products.
Solid-waste disposal, erosion-control markets are fastest growing
Among the various markets for geosynthetics, ground stabilization and reinforcement continues to lead demand, accounting for 29% of sales in volume terms in 2001. Part of the reason is this is one area where consumers are fairly familiar with geosynthetics.
Though growth for the ground stabilization and reinforcement market will remain healthy, stronger annual gains are projected for markets such as solid-waste disposal and erosion control, where geosynthetics benefit from the performance advantages of the materials relative to competing products.
The South was the largest geographic market for geosynthetics in the U.S. in 2001, but the West is expected to experience faster growth through 2006. Advances in these census regions will be driven by strong growth in nonbuilding expenditures, as well as the most rapid gains in population and overall economic activity.