The past several years have been an anomaly for the flowmeter business for multiple reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted demand for the products flowmeters are used to measure. Flow Research recently completed a study of the worldwide flowmeter market, including all flowmeter types. Our goal was to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the flowmeter market as a whole, and to find out which types of flowmeters were most impacted by the pandemic. We published our findings in a new study called ‘Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 8th Edition’. The study was published in January 2022.
The markets in 2020
The year 2020 was in many ways an anomaly, and virtually no industrial, commercial, or retail segments were unaffected by the pandemic. Many businesses were forced to close, travel slowed to a trickle in many cases, and demand for many products simply dried up. This especially applied to the energy industry. Demand for gasoline and jet fuel plummeted, as people curtailed both driving and flying. Due to the prevalence of the pandemic, many people worked from home. This had its own impact on travel, as Zoom calls replaced many in-person meetings. For most of 2020, business as we know it was dramatically altered or ceased to exist.
As we researched the flowmeter market, including all flowmeter types, we found that most, though not all, companies reported reduced revenues in 2020 when compared to 2019. While 2019 was not a stellar year, it was a much more ‘normal’ year than 2020. We also found that many companies expected to have revenues in 2021 that were close to their 2019 revenues. In the end, 2021 may have been a slightly weaker year than some expected, due in part to uncertainty caused by the emergence of the Omicron variant towards the end of 2021, and due to some re-emergence of the Delta variant in Europe as colder weather in the autumn drove people indoors. Even so, the determined efforts by the developed countries to vaccinate as much of their populations as possible made 2021 a much more viable year economically than 2020.
While the pandemic taught us once again how difficult the future is to predict, it is not controversial that energy demands will remain high, chemical plants will continue to operate, power plants will generate needed power, and water and wastewater treatment plants will produce clean water and treat wastewater. Flowmeters are needed for all these applications, and with an expanding population in most countries, demand for flowmeters will increase. Which flowmeter markets can be expected to grow the fastest depends on the industries and applications.
The comprehensive new Flow Research study found that the worldwide flowmeter market totalled US$7.03 billion in 2019 and US$6.6 billion in 2020, with revenues forecast to reach a projected US$6.9 billion in 2021 and US$8.2 billion by 2024.
Coriolis and magnetic flowmeters are the revenue leaders in the flowmeter market, with Coriolis meters projected to take over the lead more strongly by 2024, due largely to growing demand in the oil and gas industry for more accurate custody transfer measurement. Coriolis flowmeters are the most accurate meters on the market today.
Coriolis, ultrasonic, and magnetic flowmeters lead the way
Coriolis, magnetic, and ultrasonic flowmeters drive the total flowmeter market, and the decreased demand and supply of oil and gas during the pandemic significantly affected the Coriolis and ultrasonic markets. Going forward, however, the tightness in supply for both oil and natural gas could cause significant growth in these flowmeter markets ...
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