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Carbon Steel Market Report


Carbon Steel Market by Type (Low Carbon Steel, Medium Carbon Steel, and High Carbon Steel), Application (Construction, Shipbuilding, Automotive, and Others), and Region (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA): Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2023-2032

Carbon Steel Overview

Carbon steel is a common type of steel that is an iron-carbon alloy. When compared to stainless steel, it has a higher carbon content, a lower melting point, and greater durability. Carbon steel is the most common engineering and construction material for large-scale industrial applications such as marine constructions, power plants, transportation, chemical processing, and petroleum extraction and refining. Although carbon steel has excellent tensile strength and hardness, it is far more prone to corrosion.

Global Carbon Steel Market Analysis

The global carbon steel market size was $949.78 billion in 2022 and is predicted to grow with a CAGR of 4.16%, by generating a revenue of $1401.57 billion by 2032.

COVID-19 Impact on Global Carbon Steel Market

The pandemic caused disruptions in global supply chains, including the steel industry. Travel restrictions, factory closures, and logistical challenges affected the availability of raw materials, transportation, and workforce. These disruptions led to delays in production and increased costs for steel manufacturers. Lockdown measures, supply chain disruptions, and reduced consumer spending led to a decline in demand for carbon steel products. This resulted in lower production volumes and decreased revenues for steel manufacturers. The construction industry, for instance, experienced a slowdown due to halted projects and reduced investments. However, there was an increased demand for carbon steel in sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and packaging, where it is used for medical equipment, storage containers, and packaging materials.

As countries gradually lifted restrictions and economic activities resumed, the carbon steel market started to recover. Government stimulus packages, infrastructure projects, and increased construction activities contributed to the revival of demand. The rebound in the automotive industry also drove the demand for carbon steel, as vehicle production resumed. Post pandemic, there has been an increased focus on reducing carbon emissions and adopting greener practices in various industries, including steel manufacturing. This has led to a growing interest in low-carbon and recycled steel products, pushing the industry toward greater sustainability.

Increasing Infrastructure Projects and Modernization to Drive the Market Growth

Carbon steel is widely utilized in infrastructure projects, including buildings, bridges, railways, and pipelines. Quick urbanization, population growth, and the need for modernization drive the demand for carbon steel in construction. The automotive sector is a noteworthy consumer of carbon steel. Carbon steel is used in different parts of vehicles, including frames, chassis, and body panels. The energy industry, including oil and gas, power generation, and renewable energy, is a key driver for the carbon steel market. Carbon steel is utilized in pipelines, drilling hardware, and infrastructure for the energy sector. The expansion of energy projects and investments impacts the demand for carbon steel.

Competition from Alternative Materials to Restrain Market Growth

Carbon steel production is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions, primarily due to the use of coal and other fossil fuels in the manufacturing process. As environmental awareness increases and regulations on carbon emissions become stricter, industries may face challenges in maintaining demand for carbon steel products. Carbon steel faces competition from alternative materials like stainless steel, aluminum, and composite materials in various applications. These materials often offer specific advantages such as higher strength-to-weight ratios or corrosion resistance, which can limit the growth of carbon steel in certain industries. The cost of iron ore, coal, and other raw materials used in carbon steel production can be volatile, impacting the overall profitability of the industry.

Advancement in Infrastructure to Drive Excellent Opportunities

The need for infrastructure development is significant in both emerging and developed economies. Investments in transportation, energy, construction, and other infrastructure projects require substantial amounts of carbon steel. As governments and private entities focus on improving infrastructure, the demand for carbon steel products such as structural beams, pipes, and rebar is likely to increase. The growing adoption of electric vehicles presents a promising opportunity for the carbon steel market. EVs require lightweight yet strong materials for their construction, and advanced high-strength carbon steels can meet these requirements. As the demand for EVs rises, the demand for carbon steel used in vehicle bodies, chassis, and other components is likely to increase.

Global Carbon Steel Market Share, by Type, 2022

low carbon steel sub-segment accounted for the highest share in 2022. Low-carbon steel possesses excellent ductility and formability, making it suitable for various shaping and forming processes. Low-carbon steel can be easily bent and fabricated into complex shapes, which is essential in the production of carbon steel products. Low-carbon steel possesses good weldability, allowing them to join with other materials including copper. This makes it an ideal choice for applications where carbon and steel need to be combined, such as in electrical and manufacturing connectors, heat exchangers, and piping systems. Low-carbon steel exhibits good compatibility with copper, both in terms of mechanical properties and thermal expansion characteristics. This compatibility allows for the creation of reliable joints and connections between copper and low-carbon steel, enabling the development of composite materials or structures.

Global Carbon Steel Market Share, by Application, 2022

Construction sub-segment accounted for the highest share in 2022. Carbon steel exhibits high strength and durability, making it suitable for various structural applications in construction. It provides the necessary strength to support buildings and infrastructure while withstanding heavy loads and stresses over time. Carbon steel possesses excellent structural integrity, ensuring the safety and stability of buildings and infrastructure. Its predictable behavior under different loads and forces allows engineers to design and construct structures with confidence, meeting building codes and regulations. Carbon steel has inherent fire-resistant properties, making it suitable for construction applications where fire protection is important. Unlike materials such as wood, carbon steel does not burn and can retain its strength and integrity at high temperatures. It is commonly used in fire-resistant doors, structural fire protection systems, and fireproofing applications.

Global Carbon Steel Market Share, by Region, 2022

The Asia-Pacific carbon steel market accounted for the highest share in 2022. The Asia-Pacific region has been undergoing extensive construction and infrastructure development, including the construction of residential buildings, commercial complexes, transportation networks, and energy infrastructure. Carbon steel, being a primary material for structural components, reinforcement bars, and pipes, has been extensively used in these projects, boosting the market share. Asia-Pacific is home to some of the largest steel-producing countries globally. Countries like China, Japan, and India have substantial steel production capacities, providing a strong manufacturing base for carbon steel products. This availability of locally produced carbon steel contributes to the high market share in the region. The combination of robust industrialization, infrastructure development, automotive growth, manufacturing sectors, and supportive government policies has propelled the Asia-Pacific region to hold a significant market share in the global carbon steel market.

Competitive Scenario in the Global Carbon Steel Market

There are several major players functioning in the highly competitive global carbon steel market. In order to increase their market presence and boost their product portfolios. Companies aim to differentiate their carbon steel products by offering unique features, specifications, or value-added services. This strategy helps them cater to specific customer requirements and gain a competitive edge in the market. Differentiation can be achieved through product quality, performance, customization options, and innovative solutions. Companies invest in understanding customer needs, providing technical support, and offering value-added services.

Some of the leading carbon steel market players are AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal, Baosteel Group, Evraz plc, HBIS Group, JFE Steel Corporation, Nippon Steel Corporation, NLMK, POSCO, and United States Steel.



Historical Market Estimations


Base Year for Market Estimation


Forecast Timeline for Market Projection


Geographical Scope

North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA

Segmentation by Type

  • Low Carbon Steel
  • Medium Carbon Steel
  • High Carbon Steel

Segmentation by Application

  • Construction
  • Shipbuilding
  • Automotive
  • Others

Key Companies Profiled

  • AK Steel Corporation
  • ArcelorMittal
  • Baosteel Group
  • Evraz plc
  • HBIS Group
  • JFE Steel Corporation
  • Nippon Steel Corporation
  • NLMK
  • United States Steel

Frequently Asked Questions

A. The size of the carbon steel market was over $949.78 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.16% from 2023 to 2032.

A. AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal, and Baosteel Group are some of the key players in the global carbon steel market.

A. Asia-Pacific possesses great investment opportunities for investors in the future.

A. Product differentiation is the key strategy opted by the operating companies in this market.

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