Summary of our market study

In France, the flat glass market is worth around 3 billion euros.

The global flat glassmarket, estimated at $115.8 billion, has seen significant growth due to demand from the construction and automotive sectors. Although growth figures predicted a CAGR of 7.3% between 2020 and 2027, the Covid-19 pandemic invalidated these forecasts. Asia-Pacific dominates the market, thanks in particular to China's construction industry.

The market is characterized by a high level of concentration, with major players such as AGC, NSG, Saint-Gobain and Guardian holding around 47% market share.

The French marketis divided into raw and processed flat glass production, with raw flat glass experiencing an increase while processed flat glass saw a slight decline. Photovoltaic applications and thermal renovation projects, supported by public policies in France, are having a positive influence on the market. However, the slowdown in the automotive industry poses challenges for demand.

Regulations such as European standard EN 572 and French targets for reducing energy consumption in buildings are shaping the market, pushing it towards more energy-efficient solutions.

The French flat glass market: Constraining and stimulating factors impacting demand

The French flat glass market is mainly driven by the construction and automotive industries.

  • Around 80% of flat glass is used in the construction industryAbout
  • 15% is destined for the automotive industry.

While the French flat glass market has enjoyed a long period of steady growth, it has recently experienced a slowdown of around 3%. This decline is largely attributable to the slow expansion of the construction sector and the drop in automotive production.

The market value hovers around 3 billion euros.

The slowdown in the construction sector is influencing demand for flat glass.

The downturn in the automotive industry has had a direct impact on flat glass consumption. However, the manufacture of other transport equipment, which also includes flat glass, posted robust growth, helping to balance the market.

French flat glass exports are affected by the global downturn in construction activity. Nevertheless, positive trends, such as the growth of the photovoltaic sector and government-sponsored thermal renovations, offer a glimmer of hope.

Products such as low-U insulating glass and other "intelligent" glasses are increasingly in demand, which, combined with regulations promoting energy-efficient buildings, should give a continued boost to the flat glass market in France.

Main market leaders in the flat glass industry

  • Saint-Gobain With roots going back more than three centuries, Saint-Gobain is a giant in the world of flat glass production. An industry pioneer, the company has made its mark in a variety of sectors, including building and automotive, and high-performance, energy-efficient glazing solutions.
  • AGC (Asahi Glass Co.) Originally from Japan, but with a significant presence in Europe,
  • Riou Glass A major name in the French market, Riou Glass specializes in the manufacture and processing of flat glass to meet the needs of a wide range of customers, from construction to interior decoration.
  • DevglassThis company focuses on flat glass processing and has earned a reputation as a specialist in the production of processed flat glassware.
  • Ficosa Although not exclusively dedicated to flat glass, Ficosa has integrated flat glass production into its broader portfolio of automotive components.
  • SMR (Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec) A leader in mirror production, SMR has expertly integrated flat glass processing to manufacture automotive mirrors.
  • Glas Trösch specializes in the manufacture and processing of flat glass.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Flat glass refers to glass in sheet form, which is mainly used for the production of glazing and mirrors. The flat glass market is part of the overall glass market and is one of the main glass groups together with hollow glass, cellular glass and glass fibers.

The flat glass market includes the production, shaping and processing of flat glass into various processed products, such as window glazing, shower enclosures, refrigerator shelves, glass ceramic panels, windscreens and mirrors. These processed products are mainly destined for the construction industry, which represents 80% of the end markets, and for the automotive industry (15%).

The main players in the flat glass market are the suppliers of raw materials (minerals or recycled glass), the manufacturers of raw flat glass, the manufacturers of processed flat glass, the distributors of flat glass (commercial subsidiaries of manufacturers, traders) and the customer markets (building joinery manufacturers, car manufacturers, furniture manufacturers etc.).

Flat glass production is growing steadily worldwide in terms of both volume and value, and this trend is expected to remain stable in the coming years, driven by the automotive and construction markets in emerging countries. In Europe, Germany, France and Poland are the three leading flat glass producers.

The French market declined by 3.2% in 2019, after uninterrupted growth since 2015. Slower growth in the construction market combined with lower automotive production have indeed pulled down demand for flat glass. The Covid-19-related epidemic also penalized the flat glass industry, particularly through the negative effect it had on its customer markets. On the other hand, thermal and energy renovation projects, encouraged by the public authorities, as well as the development of the photovoltaic sector, are growing and having a positive impact on the flat glass market. Innovation is also a significant growth driver in this market.

In France, the main players in the sector are Saint-Gobain, AGC, Riou Glass, Devglass, Ficosa and SMR. While most of them manufacture only processed flat glass (Devglass, Ficosa, SMR, Calorivier or VIT), some players also manufacture raw flat glass (Saint-Gobain, AGC, Riou Glass or Glas Trösch).

The manufacture of raw flat glass is thus more concentrated than glass processing, since in 2018, 12 companies manufactured raw flat glass in France, while 357 companies had as their main activity the shaping and processing of flat glass

1.2 The global market: growth driven by construction and Asia as the largest market

The global flat glass market was estimated to be worth $***.* billion in **** and, prior to the Covid-** epidemic, was forecast to grow at a CAGR (***) of *.*% from **** to **** to reach $***.* billion by ****. While these figures are now overestimated, they are indicative of the positive market direction that is expected to continue ...

1.3 The French market: growth interrupted in 2019

The flat glass industry is registered under the following two NAF codes: **.**Z: Manufacture of flat glass **.**Z: Shaping and processing of flat glass The figures below were obtained from these codes in several steps. Insee provides the pre-tax sales figures for each of the segments for the years **** to ****. [***] Insee ...

1.4 International trade: a trade deficit

The data of this part are obtained on the site of the French Customs from the following codes:

**** : Flat glass **** : Flat glass, worked

The coverage rate measures the economic independence of a country for a given product and is calculated by the formula: value of exports / value of imports x ...

1.5 The effect of Covid-19: drop in revenues and reorientation of activity

At the peak of the crisis, the drop in sales in April **** compared to April **** was - **.*% for flat glass manufacturers. The decline was even greater for the flat glass shaping and processing activity, which reached - **.*% in April **** compared to April ****. However, it appears that the turnover generated by the ...

2 Analysis of the demand

2.1 Demand mainly from the construction and automotive industries

Flat glass can be used to make many different products. Once manufactured, the raw plate glass leaving the plants is shaped and processed to make a variety of products, such as windows, railings, vehicle windshields, mirrors, verandas, vehicle roofs, display cases, and even glass-ceramic plates.

The graph below describes the distribution ...

2.2 A favorable but worsening construction market

The construction market is relatively well oriented in Europe and in France. The year **** marked an economic recovery that has been confirmed in recent years. Production growth is particularly driven by non-residential building construction and maintenance-renovation activity, which are the most dynamic segments.

The chart below highlights the upward trend in ...

2.3 Customer markets: the decline in automobile production and the positive effect of the energy transition

The automotive industry is not doing well

The automotive industry is the second-largest market for flat glass. This is because transport equipment manufacturers and car manufacturers use flat glass in particular to produce windshield and side window glazing, as well as mirrors.

In ****, automotive industry production declined in Europe and France ...

2.4 Google Trends : Une saisonnalité de la demande ?

Une saisonnalité de la demande

Note : Le graphique ci-dessus représente la proportion de recherches portant sur un mot clé donné dans un pays donné et pour une période spécifique, par rapport au moment où le taux d’utilisation de ce mot clé a été le plus élevé (***). Ainsi, une ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value chain of the industry: between suppliers, manufacturers and distributors

As illustrated below, the flat glass industry is divided into three stages before distribution of the finished product:

Suppliers of industrial sand as well as suppliers of recycled glass (***) supply raw materials to manufacturers of raw flat glass, who may also be involved in manufacturing processed glass. The raw flat glass, ...

3.2 French flat glass production: raw flat glass up, processed flat glass down in 2019

Flat glass is mainly produced by float glass, which is the modern flat glass manufacturing process and represents the main part of flat glass production. However, two other manufacturing processes exist, namely drawing and laminating. Float glass, the main production process for flat glass, is explained by Saint-Gobain as follows Currently, ...

3.3 The raw flat glass market is more concentrated than the processed flat glass market

While the raw flat glass manufacturing market is highly concentrated in France, with only ** establishments in ****, the flat glass forming and processing market is more atomized, with *** players in ****. Furthermore, both segments of the flat glass market have experienced a concentration of activity that has manifested itself in a reduction in ...

3.4 Flat glass valorisation: still limited, the recycling sector is developing

Flat glass waste from the construction industry is recycled. The main method of recovery of flat glass is recycling. After being recycled, flat glass waste can be found in partitions, joinery, sanitary equipment, mirrors and curtain walls. Flat glass waste is listed under waste code ******.

On November *, ****, the Ministries of Ecology ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Type of products

The glass used today as a construction material is called soda-lime glass because of its composition. In addition to the production of raw flat glass reserved for a small category of players (***), the shaping and transformation of glass allows the production of a multitude of different products for all types of ...

4.2 Flat glass prices

The production prices of raw flat glass and processed flat glass have followed a similar pattern in recent years, with an upward trend interrupted by the Covid-** epidemic. The Covid-** epidemic led to a decrease in raw flat glass prices and a stagnation in processed flat glass prices.

Production price index France, ...

5 Regulation

5. Regulation

European standard EN ***

The standards and rules governing the use of flat glass in the building sector are detailed here.

In particular, as indicated by the Afnor, the European standard EN ***, dated February *, ****, establishes dimensional and qualitative requirements (***) that apply to float glass as defined in EN ***-*:****, for use in ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6. Segmentation of actors

  • Saint-Gobain Groupe
  • AGC
  • Riou Glass Groupe
  • Devglass
  • Focomirrors (Ficosa Group)
  • SMR Automotive
  • Glas Trösch
  • Caloriver
  • Vitage Isolant Technique VIT
  • Verrissima Group
  • SunPartner Technologies
  • PPG Industries
  • Guardian Industries
  • Coprover
  • Cevino Glass

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Global flat glass market size
  • Breakdown of European flat glass production by country
  • Size of the French flat glass market
  • Breakdown of the use of flat glass by point of sale
  • Annual change in construction output (in volume)
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Latest news

Saint-Gobain ready to set up in Australia for 2.5 billion euros - 22/02/2024
  • Saint-Gobain proposes to acquire the entire capital of CSR
  • The CSR Group has some 40 production sites worldwide, around 130 sales outlets and 2,800 employees.
  • CSR's total revenues for the 2022-2023 financial year amounted to A$2.6 billion.
  • By 2022, North America and emerging markets already accounted for 62% of Saint-Gobain's operating income, compared with 40% in 2018.
A new plant in the Tarn region for Coprover industrial mirrors - 31/07/2023
  • Coprover is based in Castres, Tarn, and is preparing to move to a 3-hectare site in Labruguière, Tarn.
  • Total investment for the project is 10 million euros
  • Anglet-based Glass Partners Solutions acquired a stake in Coprover two years ago. Coprover specializes in glass trading, glass processing and the manufacture of double and triple glazing.
  • Coprover was founded in 1967 and employs 53 people.
  • In 2022, the company achieved sales of 11.3 million euros.
Saint-Gobain expands into Canada - 13/06/2023
  • Acquisition of Kaycan by Saint-Gobain one year ago
  • Saint-Gobain to acquire Building Products of Canada in 2023 for C$1.3 billion (approx. €925 million)
  • Building Products of Canada has a 25-30% market share in roofing products
  • Building Products of Canada total sales: C$435 million
  • Saint-Gobain's pro forma 2022 sales in Canada: C$1.8 billion
  • Saint-Gobain in Canada grows from 11 to 24 plants in eighteen months
How Saint-Gobain is making inroads across the Atlantic - 18/11/2022

Saint-Gobain acquires Kaycan to gain a foothold in the USA - 08/06/2022
  • Saint-Gobain acquires Kaycan for 860 million euros 1 billion dollars
  • Kaycan: the North American renovation specialist
  • By 2022, Saint-Gobain expects to exceed $10 billion in U.S. sales
  • Third strategic acquisition in less than two and a half years
Saint-Gobain on a light construction gold rush in North America - 08/06/2022
  • Saint-Gobain is world leader in lightweight and sustainable construction
  • Saint-Gobain sales in North America rise from 15% to 20% in three years

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Saint-Gobain Groupe
Riou Glass Groupe
Focomirrors (Ficosa Group)
SMR Automotive
Glas Trösch
Vitage Isolant Technique VIT
Verrissima Group
SunPartner Technologies
PPG Industries

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