Growth moderates for welding markets, but prospects are good


There was a continued solid picture for gas and welding distributors in the final quarter of 2023, with conditions looking robust by most measures though also continued signs of slowdown and growing caution when set against the first half of the year. Pricing in the final quarter was higher for welding hardgoods (up 2.9% over the same period a year earlier) and gases (up 3.5% on a year earlier), while hardgoods volumes turned negative, falling by 0.6% on the same quarter the prior year, while gases volumes grew by 3.8%.

The findings come from the Baird/gasworld Q4 2023 Welding and Industrial Gas Survey, which collated the views of 20 executives at industrial, scientific, and welding gas/hardgoods distributors and manufacturers with combined annualized revenues of around $3.7bn. Respondents this time around were distributed across the US, with minimal operations in Canada (the database of possible respondents is more evenly balanced). The Midwest was the most represented region in the responses this time around.

What about the year ahead? The figures and sentiment on show for the 2024, captured as 2023 ended, is for a 5.8% increase in sales for the full year versus 2023, and for gas sales to end the year 6.4% higher come the end of the year.

All these figures are in the context of the current inflationary environment, it should be noted.

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