US continues to be biggest market for medium efficiency air filters

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Source: The McIlvaine Company

The U.S. purchases of medium efficiency air filters will rise to $1.3 billion in 2012 and will remain the largest market.  China will be a distant second with purchases of $344 million.  These numbers are reflected in the most recent update to Air Filtration and Purification World Markets, an online service of the McIlvaine Company (www.mcilvainecompany.com)

The U.S will account for 37 percent of the world market in 2012 in this rapidly growing market segment.  Both residential and commercial customers are upgrading from low efficiency low cost glass media filters to the higher performance filters with synthetic media.  The market for these filters has been negatively impacted by the recession and the reduction in housing starts, but the market share gains have offset the total filter demand reduction in the short-term.

Filtration of the intake air for gas turbines accounts for a significant segment of the market in Europe and the U.S.  It is less of a factor in Asia where the reliance is on coal-fired electricity generation.  The U.S. market peaked in 2001 and then tumbled as the price of natural gas soared.  Recently the exploitation of shale gas has reinvigorated the turbine market in the U.S.  This is leading to increased sales of not only medium efficiency filters but low efficiency and even high efficiency filters as well.  Low efficiency filters frequently precede medium efficiency filters.  They are inexpensive and can be replaced every few months.  This extends the life of the down-stream medium efficiency filters.

Self cleaning filters are gaining popularity for gas turbine applications where higher dust loads are anticipated.  The new high performance turbines and the awareness of the importance of air cleanliness are leading to the installation of high efficiency filters down stream of the medium efficiency ones.

The market for low efficiency filters will be static.  Unit sales will be down while revenues will be up slightly due to price increases.  The market for high efficiency filters will grow significantly in Asia in the coming decade as the semiconductor, flat panel display and other electronic purchasers expand facilities in this region.  The U.S. will continue to be the leading purchaser of high efficiency filters for pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications.

The supplier industry is re-orienting to adjust to world conditions and marketing realities.  The big retailers are becoming stronger relative to their suppliers.  As a result, one of the major suppliers has elected to downsize in the retail sector and focus on commercial and industrial applications.  Another has taken the opposite approach and is downsizing in the industrial segment and working with the big retailers to gain market share in the residential segment.

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