Innovative Materials: Ceresana Analyzes the Global Market for Thermoplastic Elastomers

Konstanz, Germany, April 01, 2015 --( Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are as elastic as rubber, but at the same time as easy to process as standard plastics. "TPE can be melted, repeatedly deformed, and recycled," explains Oliver Kutsch, CEO of the market research institute Ceresana. "Therefore, thermoplastic elastomers are among the materials enjoying the most dynamic development. Spreading from the automotive industry, they increasingly replace conventional materials." According to a recent study of Ceresana, about US$16.7 billion were generated with the sale of TPE on the world market in 2014. The market researchers forecast revenues to increase by, on average, 4.7% p.a. until 2022. TPE are also interesting because they can be manufactured from renewable resources.

From Shoe Soles to Bumpers

The largest sales market for thermoplastic elastomers is the automotive industry: this branch consumed about 40% of total production. The applications of the various, highly diverse classes of TPE cover segments such as fabric coating and sealing components as well as bumpers. TPE are also increasingly used in the construction industry, machine construction, medical technology and other industrial branches. Further important applications include shoe soles, sporting goods, but also toys and household devices.

Diverse Classes for Diverse Applications

The market shares of individual types of TPE vary widely from country to country. This is mainly due to the differing size of sales branches and the difference in quality standards and price levels. The worldwide most commonly used type of TPE is the group of styrene block copolymers (SBC) with applications ranging from adhesive admixtures to asphalt modification in road construction. The second largest TPE market comprises thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO), which are mainly used in the automotive industry. Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) are, amongst others, processed into door handles for cars, ski boots or cable sheathing. The highest growth rates in the future we forecast for thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPV) that are used for, e.g., hoses and sealings.

Largest Economies Dominating the Market

China, the USA, Japan and Germany are the four largest consumers of thermoplastic elastomers; they accounted for about 63% of global TPE demand in 2014. Ceresana forecasts the highest growth rates for the regions Asia-Pacific and South America, China, India and Brazil in particular. Even consumption on established markets in North America and Western Europe will increase by at least 2% p.a. in the future. The continuous rise of demand is attracting many new producers, especially in Asia. China alone increased its TPE output by more than 600,000 tonnes in the last eight years. Thus, Chinese net import volume was reduced slightly, despite a strong increase of demand.

The Study in Brief:

Chapter 1 provides a presentation and analysis of the global TPE market – including forecasts up to 2022: for each region, demand, revenues and production will be explained. Chapter 2 lists the revenues generated with TPE as well as production and demand for TPE in the applications Automotive, Construction, Industrial, Shoes and sporting goods as well as Consumer goods in greater detail for 14 countries. Chapter 3 offers a substantiated analysis of the application areas for TPE: Data on demand development, split by the six world regions Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East/ Africa are given. Chapter 4 analyzes demand for individual classes of TPE, i.e. SBC, TPO, TPU, TPV and other TPE. Demand is clearly arranged for each of the 14 analyzed countries and all world regions. Chapter 5 is a useful list of profiles of TPE manufacturers, clearly arranged according to contact details, turnover, profit, product range, production sites and profile summary. Extensive profiles of 69 producers are provided, e.g. Asahi Kasei, Borealis, Chi Mei Corp., Dow Corning, Eni, Kraton Polymers, Mexichem, Mitsubishi Chemical, PetroChina, and Sinopec.
Martin Ebner
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Technologiezentrum, Blarerstr. 56, 78462 Konstanz, Germany