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Growth Potential of the Plywood Market

29 Nov, 2022

Construction activities and furniture production are surging globally with increased urbanization in developing and developed nations alike. This leads to an increased demand for raw materials too. Different architecture and design challenges require materials with specific qualities. Plywood is an increasingly popular building material for several reasons. The different types are based on their wood, adhesive, coating, number of layers, and manufacturing processes. Most are non-reactive, flexible, insulated, lightweight, and cost-effective. All this makes plywood a widely used building material.

Plywood is manufactured by peeling off thin layers of veneers from tree trunks. The veneers are cut as required and glued together at right angles atop each other with adhesive. A thin layer of resin or other coatings may also be applied to improve durability, aesthetics, etc. They are also widely used in the marine sector, as they can withstand occasional water exposure. The current prevalence of this commodity and the predicted growth of its sector make plywood import export data a must-have for any construction and manufacturing business.

The Trade Vision is a premier data provider and market intelligence company with decades of import-export experience. Access data on the go with our accessible and comprehensive data reports from over 100 countries.

A history of plywood

Plywood is one of the oldest “engineered wood” products and has always been a valuable resource. It was used in ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. Wood was cut thinly and glued together to avoid wastage through trimmings. This was initially done for economic and aesthetic purposes. It then became common practice owing to the versatility of the material. Unlike fine wood, plywood’s flexibility made it resistant to breakage. As its potential grew, plywood was introduced in industrial processes too. The first standard-sized plywood sheets (4x8 ft) were introduced in the US in 1928.

Plywood export analysis

Plywood does not require a complex procedure to produce. China has ample industrial capability and enough land to cultivate both soft and hardwoods. That is why it's by far the biggest exporter. Deforestation is very lucrative for developing economies. They tend to have vast unprotected wildlands. There are dual short term benefits for clearing these wildlands. The wood can be utilized as a resource and the empty land can serve more financially beneficial endevors. This is the position the other countries on the list find themselves in. Data suggests that Vietnam might be a future leading exporter worth keeping an eye on.

Top plywood exporting countries (2020)

  1. China ($4.71 billion)
  2. Indonesia ($1.83 billion)
  3. Brazil ($513 billion)
  4. Malaysia ($369 million)
  5. Vietnam ($305 million)

Plywood import analysis

Some of the most developed countries were the biggest plywood importers in 2020. This might be due to how hardwoods are mainstream in interiors of all kinds. From buildings to homes, to cars, and even boats, wood gives a very luxurious feel while being lightweight and inexpensive. That is why some of the largest capitalistic hubs of the world are increasingly using this commodity.

Top plywood importing countries (2020)

  1. United States ($2.75 billion)
  2. Japan ($1.25 billion)
  3. Germany ($932 million)
  4. South Korea ($721 million)
  5. United Kingdom ($628 million)

Plywood: What’s in store?

People in developed countries are becoming more environmentally aware and exploring sustainable materials for all their needs. This is out of necessity as synthetic materials are compounding the damage to us and our surroundings. Yet wood is still widely considered acceptable as a lesser evil. Other than this anecdotal observation, urbanization is happening all over the world in developing countries. Thus most experts stipulate that the market for plywood will naturally grow as well. This makes sense as historically all developing countries have followed the major economic trends of leading countries like the US, UK, Germany, and Japan. As the plywood industry looks towards robotics to increase productivity, this commodity is definitely going to go from strength to strength.