Plastic fencing: regional demand differs greatly
Compared to wood and metal, plastics are very new to the fencing market, with PVC fencing only being introduced in the 1970s and not really reaching broader use until the early 1990s. Since then, demand for vinyl fencing has grown steadily, but according to a new report, market acceptance of vinyl fence varies by region from over 30% penetration to less than 5%. The report, called Residential Fence 2006, by market watchers at Principia (Exton, PA), found that PVC, for example, has significant penetration in Utah and the Long Island region of New York, while its penetration in Texas is negligible.
In addition to vinyl fence, polystyrene, wood-plastic composites (WPC), and polyethylene are the other plastic-based fence materials. Residential fencing in North America remains thoroughly dominated by wood and metal. The total North American demand for commercial and residential fence is estimated to be more than 1 billion running feet of installed fence valued at $6 billion in 2006. Commercial fence demand is the largest sector both on a volume and value basis. Demand in the commercial market is dominated by chain link used as perimeter security fence in industrial and infrastructure markets as well as post and rail and wire mesh fence used in agricultural markets.
Demand for residential fence is estimated to be nearly $3 billion of the total fence market value in 2006. Steve Van Kouteren, a principal at Principia Partners, explains, "The residential fence market consists of five major fence styles including privacy, post and rail, chain link, ornamental, and post and wire/wire mesh�ood and metal are the dominant materials used, accounting for over 70% of the total value." He says that the recent study estimates demand for plastic fence materials in the North American residential market to be greater than $600 million or nearly 25% of the total market in 2006. Privacy fence is the most popular type of fence style installed in the residential market, accounting for over 50% of the total value.
Principia's study shows the housing downturn has affected the overall demand for residential fence and will continue to do so over the next few years, but plastic fence will continue to expand its market share over the next five years. Most demand growth will be for vinyl and new wood-plastic composite privacy fence. Both materials will be replacing wood. The new WPC fence products have an edge over vinyl in regards to a wide range of darker colors, according to Principia. Both vinyl and WPC suppliers want to take advantage of the growing consumer demand for low-maintenance, non-shiny, white plastic fence by tapping into the huge portion of the wood privacy market that will not consider white vinyl as an option. Compared to vinyl post-and-rail fence, which has successfully penetrated and displaced as much as 50% of wood in many regional markets, vinyl only has about a 16% share of the North American privacy fence market. The large wood privacy market is also a target for the foamed polystyrene and 100% polyethylene-based fence products. Learn more about the report at www.principiaconsulting.com.―firstname.lastname@example.org