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Refractories Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Form (Bricks & Shaped and Monolithics & Unshaped), By Product (Clay and Non-Clay), By Alkalinity (Acidic & Neutral and Basic), By End-Use Industry (Iron & Steel, Non-Ferrous Metals, Glass, Cement, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2023-2030

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103287



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The global refractories market size was valued at USD 32.98 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 34.46 billion in 2023 to USD 47.09 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period.

Refractory products are technically enhanced ceramic materials that withstand extreme temperatures, heavy mechanical and thermal abrasion, and chemical corrosion. They convey an important yet overlooked role in the daily operations of almost every industry by providing thermal insulation, mechanical strength, and protection from corrosion. To develop key manufacturing processes, these products have been essential for various industries such as iron & steel, cement, glass, other metals, petrochemicals, and pulp & paper.

These products are treated as consumables in some industries, such as steel and other metals, wherein they are replaced time-to-time to maintain performance. On the other hand, glass and cement industries consider their capital investments as they can perform their chore for up to 10 years. According to the World Refractory Association, the cost of refractory products accounts for less than 3%, and often even below 1% of the manufactured products. However, optimized application and designing of refractory products can reduce up to 20% of the operating expenses for the end-use industries. Furthermore, the manufacturing is non-toxic, and over 90% of the refractory materials are either recycled or reused, making them critical for advancing various end-use industries.


Disruptions in Supply Chains amid COVID-19 Outbreak to Affect Market Growth

While refractory product manufacturing is considered an essential service, the supply of raw materials, such as binders and non-clay sand, has been impacted during the pandemic. Also, many companies saw a shortage of employees during the lockdowns, which slightly hindered the market's growth rate. Another factor that impacted the market was the slowing down in the production activities in the end-use industries. Cement and glass companies reduced production due to a slowing uptake from the automotive and construction industries. Also, non-ferrous metals and iron manufacturing were impacted due to mining activities experiencing shutdowns during the pandemic. However, the automotive and construction industries are projected to indicate a strong recovery during the pandemic period, and this trend is projected to be followed by the global market during the forecast period.


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Refractory Customization to Meet Consumer Demand to Foster Market Development

While these products have been utilized for a long time, a significant change observed in the market is the development of refractory products from various materials. For instance, magnesia materials are combined with chromium oxide to form magnesia-chrome refractory. These products have high refractoriness and superior tolerance against chemical corrosion. Furthermore, unshaped products, such as monolithic ones formed from aggregates, additives, and binders, are in heavy demand from the steel and cement industries. They form a lining behind molds and templates, providing uniform temperature insulation across the kiln surface. Such unshaped products are increasingly being manufactured according to the requirements of the end-use industries. For example, 6K Additive announced a commercial launch of a new set of refractory metal powders, a particular class of materials characterized by their high temperature and wear resistance, which proves suitable for manufacturing high-stress parts.


Increasing Consumption of Iron, Steel, and Glass by the Automotive Industry to Drive the Market

The resurgence of the automotive industry in recent years, especially with the surge of electric vehicle (EVs), has provided traction for vehicle manufacturing materials, including steel, iron, and glass. According to a joint report by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and the World Steel Association, steel-based products account for 60% of the vehicle’s body structure. In comparison, glass accounts for over 6% of the vehicle's body weight. As the material is vital for producing these materials, their uptake from the steel and glass industry has surged to fulfill the demand from the automotive industry. Thus, the growth of the automotive industry is expected to drive the refractories market growth.

The automotive industry is looking for innovative ways to meet the future average fuel economy requirements, and thus the steel industry is continuously investing in advanced materials, which has led to the introduction of a new variety of innovative steel for the automotive industry. Advanced High-Strength Steel (AHSS) development has enabled the automotive industry to meet increasing regulatory requirements. New car models are introduced yearly using lightweight, higher-strength steel components that provide a cost-effective answer to the demand for increased safety and fuel economy. Hence, the adoption of advanced steel by the automotive industry is surging the product demand.


Highly Carbon Intensive Manufacturing Process to Attract Environmental Concerns and Regulations

Manufacturing these products is highly carbon-intensive, including mining, baking, and curing refractory materials. Heavy amounts of CO2 and pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, are released during manufacturing. These gases are well known as greenhouse gases and environmental agencies heavily regulate their release into the air. Furthermore, much energy is required during manufacturing, increasing carbon intensity. As environmental health and safety concerns are in sharp focus, the refractory manufacturers are compelled to reduce their carbon intensity, resulting in lower margins. As the market is already highly competitive, such restrictions restrain the market's growth potential.


By Form Analysis

Bricks & Shaped Segment to Hold Largest Market Share Due to Strong Demand from Key Industries 

Based on form, the market is classified into bricks & shaped and monolithic & unshaped. The bricks & shaped segment accounts for the larger market share due to rise in requirements of such products from the metal and non-metal industries. Bricks are required to form the insulation layer inside the ovens and kilns and are replaced periodically to meet the insulation ratings set by the customer. This factor is the primary reason for the larger share of the bricks & shaped segment in the market. On the other hand, the monolithic & unshaped segment is expected to gain market share during the forecast period owing to higher demand to form linings inside the reactors, wherein positioning of shaped refractories is restricted due to space restrictions.

By Product Analysis

Low Cost to Lead the Clay Segment to Dominate the Market

Based on product, the market is divided into clay and non-clay. The clay segment accounts for the larger share owing to its low cost compared to the non-clay segment. Fireclay bricks and insulation products are generally made of clay materials and are heavily consumed by iron & steel products manufacturers. Furthermore, raw materials for manufacturing refractory clay products are more readily available, further adding to its market domination. Specific manufacturing processes are highly corrosive due to strong acids and bases, which drive the market for non-clay refractory products. They provide superior resistance to corrosion compared to their regular clay counterparts.

By Alkalinity Analysis

Backed by Large Demand, Basic Segment to Gain Market Share During the Forecast Period

Based on alkalinity, the market is categorized into acidic & neutral and basic. Magnesite, dolomite, and magnesia-chrome resist the chemical attack done by bases in manufacturing products such as cement and ferrous metals. As the demand for these materials is expanding considerably, the demand is projected to expand significantly during the forecast period. Silica, zirconia, and aluminosilicates resist corrosion due to the presence of acids in the manufacturing processes. The iron and steel industry is the largest consumer of acidic refractory products, wherein acids are used to treat minerals to obtain pure metallic products. However, a few manufacturing processes require stable refractories in both acidic and basic environments. Thus, neutral refractory products, such as carbon and alumina, are preferably employed in such processes. These factors shall drive the steady growth of the acidic & neutral segment.

By End-Use Industry Analysis

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Iron & Steel Segment to Lead the Market due to Wide Applications

In terms of end-use industry, the market is segmented into iron & steel, non-ferrous metals, glass, cement, and others. The iron & steel segment holds the largest share of the global market owing to wide applications in almost all furnaces, reactors, and vessels used during steel manufacturing. Moreover, the refractory lining is replaced periodically, every 30 minutes to two days, in various steps of the steel manufacturing process, thus resulting in heavy consumption from the iron and steel industry.

The development of glass melting technology mainly depends on the development and quality of refractory products. Refractory selection is the most critical case for building a glass furnace, as the furnace’s lifetime depends directly on refractory quality. Alumina Zirconia Silica (AZS) is the primary structural refractory material for glass furnaces primarily since the molten glass does not easily wet it and has a common reaction with them. The rising glass industry, as a result of switching to sustainable solutions from plastics, is surging the demand for refractories. 

Reliable refractory solutions play a vital role in increasing efficiency in the cement manufacturing process. Refractory bricks are used in rotary kilns in the cement industry. Monolithic refractory is used in portions of cement kilns, usually at the outlet, where wear rates are higher. Dense castables line the cyclones in the pre-heater section of cement plants, owing to their complex shape and the wear resistance needed. The other refractory applications are in the petrochemical, machinery, boiler, light, electric power, and military industries.


Asia Pacific Refractories Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)

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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 21.36 billion in 2022. Asia Pacific is expected to hold the most significant global refractories market share due to various end-use industries' strong presence. According to the World Steel Association, Asia Pacific accounts for more than 70% of global steel production, with China alone accounting for about 50% of the global steel production. This is the most vital factor for the dominance of Asia Pacific in the global marketplace. Furthermore, the prominent presence of cement and non-ferrous metal industries in the region further fuels the region's way of leading.

The market in North America will witness growth on account of increasing demand from the end-use industries present in the region, especially iron & steel and glass industries. The market in Europe will show prolonged growth, which is expected to be rejuvenated by the growing demand for steel and glass from the automotive manufacturers present in the region. Europe holds about 15% of the global steel production, and thus the growth of the market in Europe will mirror the growth of the steel industry in the region.

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The market in the Middle East & Africa is expected to be governed by the uptake of refractory products from the petroleum and petrochemical industry present in the region. These chemicals are highly reactive and require specialized refractory variants, thus providing high-value opportunities for the manufacturers operating in the region. Brazil and Mexico currently hold prominent cement and steel production positions, respectively. They are expected to climb up as the end-use industries further shift their focus on the region's emerging economies. Thus the market in Latin America is expected to show steady growth during the forecast period.


Key Market Players are Aiming for Market Share with Acquisitions and Capacity Expansions

This market is fragmented, with many global & local players operating in the market. To obtain a competitive edge in the market, the players continuously invest across emerging and developed economies regarding new product launches, strategic acquisitions, production capacity addition, collaboration with distributors, and others. However, securing the more extensive production capacity to reach the maximum number of consumers and cater to diversified applications is the primary key strategy most players in this industry adopt. Players, such as Intocast Group, Imerys, and Posco Chemical, are significantly investing in strengthening their capabilities and enhancing their market position.



  • June 2023 – INTOCAST AG announced to acquire EXUS Refractories S.p.A, an Italy-based company named to upgrade a modern technological advancement in its production facility. This acquisition will help the company to strengthen its portfolio of refractory products.

  • April 2023 – RHI Magnesita announced to acquire the U.S., India, and Europe operations of seven refractories, specialist suppliers of non-basic monolithic refractories with recorded revenue of USD 110 million and PBT of USD 12 million in 2022 with a market portfolio for various end-use applications across the global market. This acquisition will aim to bring innovative product categories and technological advancement to deliver a step change in consumer offerings.

  • October 2021 – Intocast acquired a Mexican manufacturer and trader of refractory products and casting auxiliaries, Pyrol. This acquisition will help Intocast expand its business in the Americas.

  • September 2021 – Plibrico Company, LLC announced to complete the acquisition of Redline Industries, Inc., a leading company in product innovation to safeguard furnaces in high-temperature processing to promote higher energy efficiency. This acquisition will aim to support the customer with trusted refractory solutions offering and allow Plibrico to expand its product portfolio in the competitive market.

  • January 2021 – INTOCAST and Hüttenwerke Mannesmann (HKM) signed a long-term service contract for all Tundish operations. With this contract, INTOCAST will take over the complete management of tundish operations. The services include tundish scheduling, refractory installations, upholding safety and quality standards, logistics, and storekeeping.


An Infographic Representation of Refractories Market

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This research report provides both qualitative & quantitative insights into refractories worldwide. Quantitative insights include market sizing in terms of value (USD billion) & volume (kiloton) across each segment, sub-segment, and region profiled in the scope of the study. Also, it provides market analysis and growth rates of segments, sub-segments, and key counties across each region. Qualitative insight covers the elaborative analysis of key market drivers, restraints, growth opportunities, and industry trends related to the market. The competitive landscape section covers detailed company profiling of the key players operating in the market.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Volume (Kiloton), Value (USD Billion)

Growth Rate

CAGR of 4.6% from 2023 to 2030


By Form, Product, Alkalinity, End-Use Industry, and Geography

By Form

  • Bricks & Shaped

  • Monolithic & Unshaped

By Product

  • Clay

  • Non-Clay

By Alkalinity

  • Acidic & Neutral

  • Basic

By End-Use Industry

  • Iron & Steel

  • Non-Ferrous Metals

  • Glass

  • Cement

  • Others

By Geography


  • North America (By Form, By Product, By Alkalinity, By End-Use Industry, By Country)

    • U.S. (By Form)

    • Canada (By Form)

  • Europe (By Form, By Product, By Alkalinity, By End-Use Industry, By Country)

    • Russia (By Form)

    • Germany (By Form)

    • Italy (By Form)

    • France (By Form)

    • Ukraine (By Form)

    • Rest of Europe (By Form)

  • Asia Pacific (By Form, By Product, By Alkalinity, By End-Use Industry, By Country)

    • China (By Form)

    • India (By Form)

    • Japan (By Form)

    • South Korea (By Form)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Form)

  • Latin America (By Form, By Product, By Alkalinity, By End-Use Industry, By Country)

    • Brazil (By Form)

    • Mexico (By Form)

    • Argentina (By Form)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Form)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Form, By Product, By Alkalinity, By End-Use Industry, By Country)

    • Turkey (By Form)

    • Iran (By Form)

    • Egypt Africa (By Form)

    • GCC (By Form)

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa (By Form)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 32.98 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 47.09 billion by 2030.

The global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period.

The iron & steel segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The increase in demand for metals and glass from various end-use industries is the key driving factor of the market.

Asia Pacific held the highest market share in 2022.

Saint-Gobain, Imerys, RHI Magnesita, POSCO Future M Co., Ltd., and KAEFER SE & Co. KG are the key players operating in the market.

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