The plumbing industry’s market size based on revenue in 2022, according to IBISWorld, is $128.7 billion. Plumbing is the seventh-highest ranked construction sector by market size and has increased faster than any other construction sector overall.
A spike in home improvements over the last few years contributed in part to the growth in the plumbing industry as homeowners made upgrades and replaced existing equipment. In fact, according to the Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), the repair, re-pipe and renovation markets are expected to continue to grow as consumers decide to stay in their homes and invest in their current properties.
Plumbers are embracing smart technology and are recommending that homeowners use high-tech devices to detect water leaks. Today’s first-time buyers are often millennials who grew up with mobile phones and can deftly use an app to help detect a leak and immediately call a plumber to take care of the issue before it becomes a huge problem.
There is also a boom in smart plumbing fixtures, which not only make home life more convenient but also help homeowners to conserve water and energy. According to Grandview Research, smart plumbing fixtures will be valued at $6.6 billion by the year 2027. These fixtures include voice-activated faucets, smart shower heads, smart irrigation systems, smart toilets, and Wi-Fi water filtration.
Plumbers are also employing cutting-edge technology, such as infrared equipment to detect leaks, trenchless pipe equipment to repair sewer lines, and portable, high-definition cameras to inspect drainage systems.
The pandemic has accelerated the desire for touchless plumbing products and designs to mitigate pathogen spread in both new commercial construction and remodeling, particularly in public restrooms.
Greywater plumbing systems are becoming increasingly popular, as they can help the environment, reduce water waste, and save homeowners money. According to the Water Wise Group, greywater systems can help a homeowner save up to 40,000 gallons of water each year. In California, homeowners can save more than $220 a year with a greywater system.
Tankless water heaters have also grown in popularity, as they are energy efficient, inexpensive and simple to install. Additionally, according to Grandview Research, the U.S. market for solar water heaters is expected to grow by 8.1% through 2025.
As with other construction sectors, the plumbing industry faces a labor shortage. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ Spring 2021 Construction Market Report, there was a 55% shortage of available plumbers last year. An aging skilled workforce will only serve to exacerbate the shortage if younger generations don’t enter the sector. The Better Business Bureau estimates that by 2024 the percentage of plumbers over the age of 55 will reach nearly 25%.
Plumbing companies need to create a culture designed to attract and retain talent in order to get more candidates into the pipeline and on the job to meet the industry’s employment forecasts and replace retirees.