Demand for abrasives in the US is forecast to rise 3.8 percent per year through 2019 to $7 billion. Gains will decelerate from those seen over the 2009-2014 period, when abrasives demand grew quickly as a result of recovery from an unusually low, recession-impacted 2009 base. These and other trends are presented in Abrasives, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Durable goods manufacturing represents the largest market for abrasive products, accounting for 76 percent of the total in 2014. 

According to analyst Elliott Woo, “The strongest outlooks for abrasives in durable goods manufacturing are expected in markets such as furniture and wood products, machinery, and nonmetallic mineral products, all of which are expected to see improvements in manufacturing output through 2019.” 

Cleaning and maintenance applications, which represent the second largest source of abrasives demand after durable goods, are expected to grow at a more modest pace, reflecting the maturity of abrasives use in typical cleaning activities. 

Construction applications are expected to be the single fastest growing market for abrasives, benefiting from rapid gains in construction spending, but this market will remain a small portion of the total.

Nonmetallic abrasives account for the vast majority of abrasive products, comprising 93 percent of the total in 2014.  Within nonmetallic abrasives, coated products are the largest category, followed by bonded abrasives and loose abrasive grains and powders.  Bonded abrasives will post the fastest gains through 2019, in part due to the fact that this category contains the highest concentration of super-abrasive materials, which are expected to expand their market share.  Increased consumption of super-abrasives (e.g., manufactured diamond) will also benefit coated abrasives and loose abrasives to some degree.  Metallic abrasives will post slightly below average growth, reflecting the relative maturity and lack of emerging technology for products in this category.  Competition from alternative materials such as polyester non-woven pads will also hinder consumption of metallic abrasive products.