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U.S. Industrial Fasteners Demand to Top $15 Billion

The U.S. market for industrial fasteners is expected to increase 2.6% per year to $15.2 billion in 2020, according to a new report by the Freedonia Group.

"This will constitute a return to more sustainable growth levels for these relatively mature products, following a surge in demand posted during the recovery-fueled 2010-2015 period."

The performance of this industry has always been strongly impacted by trends in motor vehicle production, its largest end-user market. As motor vehicle output moderates, so too will associated fastener demand.

The fastest growth in fastener sales will be found in the construction market, as construction activity -- both residential and nonresidential -- continues to advance at solid rates. These and other trends are presented in Industrial Fasteners, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

"Competition from alternative joining technologies -- such as adhesives, clinching, and welding -- will prevent further gains in a number of applications."

While opportunities for value-added technological improvements exist, they tend to be limited in many markets.

Finally, competition from foreign producers will continue to be intense in this industry.

Demand for aerospace-grade fasteners is expected to outpace growth in standard fastener sales, supported by relatively strong conditions in aerospace manufacturing, as well as by the increasing use of higher value aerospace-grade fasteners, particularly those made of titanium.

According to analyst Brendan Eyre:

“It is at least due in part to this growth that in January 2016 Berkshire Hathaway completed its largest acquisition to date, the purchase of leading aerospace-grade fastener manufacturer Precision Castparts. Berkshire Hathaway is banking on continued growth in aerospace manufacturing (both in the US and abroad), as well as on the high barriers to entry in the technologically advanced aerospace-grade fastener market.”

Sales of standard industrial fasteners will post gains through 2020 at more subdued rates than those experienced during the 2010-2015 period. Growth is expected to return to a sustainable rate for these relatively mature products, many of which are considered commodities.

Production gains in the motor vehicle market will slow considerably from the output growth registered during the 2010-2015 period, dampening associated fastener sales.

Machinery shipments are also expected to moderate through 2020, leading to slower growth in associated fastener sales. Above average gains are forecast for standard fasteners utilized in both aerospace applications and in fabricated metal products.

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