Softening but still solid: Q2 in welding markets


There was a continued solid picture for gas and welding distributors in the second quarter of 2023, with conditions looking robust by most measures though slightly lower sequentially after an even stronger showing in Q1. Pricing was higher for welding hardgoods (up 4% over the same period last year) and gases (up 5.5% on a year earlier), while hardgoods volumes were up by 2% and gases by 3.5%.

The findings come from the Baird/gasworld Q2 2023 Welding and Industrial Gas Survey, which collated the views of 21 executives at industrial, scientific, and welding gas/hardgoods distributors and manufacturers with combined annualized revenues of around $3.5bn. 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 and South were the two most represented regions in the responses this time around.

The figures and sentiment on show for Q2, while still robust, shows a moderating of full-year expectations for both hardgoods and gas sales versus earlier surveys. The sentiment captured in the Q2 survey is for a 4.9% increase in sales for the full year versus 2022, down from an expectation of 8.3% for the full year growth figure captured in the Q1 survey. On the gas side, the expectations are for a 7.4% increase in year-on-year sales by the year-end. That is down from an expectation of an 8.3% full-year uplift recorded in the Q1 survey.

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

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