The global polyethylene market is changing dramatically. As part of our mission to provide converters with unrivaled customer experiences, Shell Polymers is committed to keeping a pulse on pipe production trends and highlighting advancements. That way, we provide our customers with expert insights on current, credible market research.

Widely used in industries such as construction, oil, gas, agriculture and water sectors, PE pipe supports applications that use potable water, wastewater, chemicals, hazardous waste, and compressed gases. That’s why Freedonia reported that the world demand for plastic pipes rose by 6.7% in 2019 to 19.3 billion meters.1

In the United States the conversation around pipe composition is growing because the average age of its 1.6 million miles of water and sewer pipes will hit 45 years in 2020.2 Infrastructure challenges like this mean PE has the potential to replace other pipe materials such as concrete, copper, and steel because it is corrosion-resistant, recyclable, cost-effective, lightweight and flexible and has high-temperature resistance.

Upward Trends for PE Pipe

For industries on the upswing for pipes, such as construction, infrastructure, or technology, uses are trending towards larger L/D extruders and the use of bimodal technology. Research has identified a few key geographic regions experiencing growth in the PE pipe space. The continuing recovery of construction spending and housing completions will support rapid advances for plastic pipe demand in the United States.

The continuing recovery of construction spending will support rapid advances for plastic pipe demand in the United States.

In the Asia Pacific, MarketResearch.biz3 reports that the growing construction sector, infrastructural investments, and government initiatives are driving growth in various countries, including China and India. In the Middle East and Africa, they are experiencing moderate revenue growth from the increased use of PE pipe in the telecom industry.

Downward Trends for PE Pipes

Rather than using cast iron and galvanized iron, many industries are replacing systems pipes with PE pipes due to its flexibility and ductile qualities. Despite this trend, warns that fluctuating prices of raw materials could hinder growth of the target market over the forecast period.

World Plastic Pipe, July 2015 by Freedonia Group

Tabuchi, Hiroko. $300 Billion War Beneath the Street: Fighting to Replace America’s Water Pipes. New York Times, 10 Nov. 2017,

Key Takeaways

  • World demand for plastic pipe is rising by 6.7%.

  • Growth is forecasted to rise in many regions, including Asia Pacific, the USA, the Middle East, and Africa.

  • The PE63 grade, which is typically used for medium-pressure piping systems, irrigation systems and drinking water connections, is forecast to be the most lucrative.

  • Due to its durability and cost-efficiency, PE is becoming the preferred material for pipe

Stay Ahead of Industry Trends

Supply chain challenges continue to affect our industry and the food and beverage market is growing at a rapid pace. Learn how to deal with these changes in our free report.

Get the Report

Behind Shell Polymers

Accessible Pennsylvania Polyethylene Plant

Seventy percent of current polyethylene buyers are within 700 miles of our plant in Pennsylvania—and that’s no accident. We strategically placed our petrochemical facility in Monaca to increase efficiency and provide customers with a logistical advantage, as well as to help build up the community by providing jobs and infrastructure.

Shell Polymers is Changing the Game in Polymer Technology

Say goodbye to mountains of spreadsheets and hello to new ordering tools. We are changing the way you do business, so you focus on what’s most important—growth.

Meet Your Team of Polymer Experts

Our polymer experts are committed to delivering a customer experience that will rival other suppliers. By providing dedicated expertise backed by years of industry experience, our polymer experts are just one way we Break the Mold.

Reimagining How Converters Engage with Polyethylene Suppliers

Shell Polymers conducted 1,000+ hours of interviews over two years that inspired new technologies and innovative ideas that address the unique challenges of plastic converters.

Resources and Insights

Discover what's coming down the pipe at Shell Polymers and in the PE industry on our blog. There you'll find technology tips, team profiles, polyethylene trends and more.