Nifty Lift takes a look at which countries are dominating the construction market

Around the world, business is booming for the construction industry. Not only are countries looking to house an ever-growing population, but they are also looking to compete on a global scale to grow as nations. Some countries are fuelled by sheer speed of growth, while others are supported by a huge economic force. With this in mind, which countries are the biggest investors in the construction market?

How the construction market has previously played out

In the past, the US has remained the dominant figure of the worldwide construction market. Ten years ago, the country commanded a construction market value of $1,313bn, compared to China’s $1,035bn. But just a year later in 2010, the two had finally shifted places, with China taking 15% of the total global share.

2009 (value in USD) 2010 (global share in %)
US ($1,313bn) China 15%
China ($1,035bn) US 14%
Japan ($592bn) Japan 9%
Germany ($303bn) India 5%
Spain ($292bn) France 4%
France ($271bn) Germany 4%
Italy ($262bn) Canada 4%
South Korea ($248bn) Spain 4%
India ($247bn) Italy 3%
UK ($243bn) UK  3%

China overtaking the US

Naturally, a country’s individual construction market strength will shift a lot depending on a variety of factors – from economic stability to population growth, or simple change in needs. But the US has remained on the top spot for a long time. That was until 2010, when China surpassed its global construction market share.

The US has suffered during the recession, with the housebuilding sector’s fall resulting in its construction industry slowing down.

India’s rapid growth

While China may have enjoyed a swift growth in the construction market, India has certainly proven itself to be an emerging contender, with one study showing the country is growing at almost double the rate of China. This saw India flying up the global shares table, from 9th in 2009 to 4th in 2010.

Spain’s fall

Due to the Spanish financial crisis from 2008-2014, the country descended in terms of its construction market share. Spain went from recording the 5th largest global share to having the 8th largest, as it and other European countries struggled with a recession.

The current construction market growth

With most countries well on the way through a recovery period after global economic crises, the construction market is set to see an exciting period of change and growth too. Turner and Townsend surmise that recovering oil prices, demand for data centres, and the retail need for refurbishment in order to create a new experience to compete with the online retail world will see the construction sector go from strength to strength. Plus, the worldwide desire to move to a greener future is also calling for continued efforts and renovations to old, out-dated buildings and structures.

Predictions for the future construction market

Observations and predictions have already rolled forth for the continued global growth of the construction market, and with it, which countries will be the biggest players:

2020 (predicted global share) 2030 (predicted ranking)
China 21% China
US 15% US
India 7% India
Japan 6% Indonesia
Canada 3% Japan
Indonesia 3% UK
France 3% Canada
Germany 3% Germany
Australia 3% France
Spain 2% Australia

The UK out of the top ten in 2020

The UK has been struggling on a number of fronts in recent years, and in terms of its share in the construction market, the nation will drop out of the top ten in 2020 according to predictions. There is a certain amount of Brexit uncertainty affecting investment in general, and for the construction industry, output dropped by 1.7% in the UK for the first quarter of 2018 due to difficult weather conditions at the time.

This drop isn’t expected to last long, however, as the UK’s housing crisis remains rife and will provide a catalyst for many construction projects to get underway across the UK by 2030. These will include housing and a number of “mega-builds”, as well as rail and airport development.

In fact, some predict that the UK will not only return to form in the construction market, it will actually become one of the biggest contributors to the construction industry’s 14.7% share of all global economic output by 2030.

Biggest construction projects at present

As we enjoy further technological advances and opportunities, the construction market is witnessing a number of mega-projects that are fuelling growth.

Currently, some of these proposed large-scale construction projects that are in-progress include:

  • South-North Water Transfer Project in China – This construction project is set to help the population living in the north of China to access a greater water supply. The project has a whopping 48-year schedule!
  • London Crossrail Project in the UK – The construction of the world’s first underground train system is set to connect 40 stations.
  • Dubailand in Dubai –This project will see a complex of 278 square kilometres being built, containing a number of theme parks, hotels and more.


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