The world market for industrial fasteners is expected to increase by over 6% per year to be worth $43bn (£29bn) by 2004, according to US-based market research firm Freedonia Group.
Most of the increase in demand will come from Asian economies which were hit by recession at the end of the 1990s and are now staging a recovery — such as Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand. The Chinese market will exhibit particularly strong growth, rising from $2.1bn (£1.4bn) in 1999 to $3.7bn (£2.5bn) in 2004, an average increase of 12.5% per year.
The continental European market is expected to pick up due to the favourable economic climate and reduced transaction costs resulting from the introduction of the euro. The total west European market will grow from $8.4bn (£5.6bn) to $11bn (£7.3bn) between 1999 and 2004, although the report suggests demand may grow more slowly in the UK.
The fastest-growing market sectors are forecast to be fasteners for electronic products, plastic fasteners and higher added-value and speciality fasteners. Maintenance and repair demand will grow faster than the original equipment market.
Strong competition will continue to come from adhesives, advanced welding and other joining technologies, the report’s authors say.