The TPE industry has enjoyed steady, fairly-high growth for 30+ years based on favorable general properties (elastic and thermoplastic), relatively low cost of the major polymers used (polyolefins, styrene block copolymers, elastomers) and fabrication process advances (coextrusion, overmolding, foaming, adhesion, scratch/mar improvement). As the industry has matured, new challenges are opening markets, creating value-added opportunities and an inflection point in growth of the TPE industry.
Dynamics of a growing TPE market
The thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) market is set to grow faster over the coming five years than in recent history, rising from 4.76 million tonnes in 2019 to 6.42 million tonnes in 2024, according to new research from Smithers Rapra. The global TPE market is forecast to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2 % from 2019 to 2024, according to the report. This is up from a 5.8 % recorded for 2014 – 18. Significant demand in the automotive industry, aligned in part to the meteoric rise of the electric vehicles market, is key to this impressive growth. Meanwhile growing consumerism in parts of Asia – in particular China, but also the likes of Indonesia and Malaysia – is also going to be a driving force for the TPEs market over this forecast period. Some of the key findings of the new report are summarised in this article.
IAL publishes 6th edition of TPU market study
Amaplast has completed its year-end balance sheet for 2018, incorporating foreign trade da IAL Consultants has recently published the 6th edition of its report “Global Overview of the Thermoplastic Polyurethane Market. This report examines the national, regional and global markets for thermoplastic polyurethanes for 2018. It explores the market trends driving TPU production and subsequent demand, provides an indication of raw material consumption, and also presents future growth opportunities in the TPU market. Five-year market forecasts to 2023 are also included. The main findings with special focus on the APAC region are summarised below.
It is estimated that the global market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) for medical and healthcare applications will be of the order of 375,0000 t in 2019. It is likely that this market will grow with a CAGR of 8.5 % to 565,000 t by 2024. This represents the highest growth rate of all thermoplastic elastomers. The reason for such growth is a combination of a growing number of the world’s population seeking medical care as well as a move to replace a number of incumbent materials, in particular PVC. In addition, certain vulcanised elastomers are also likely to be replaced by thermoplastic elastomers at the same time. The main driving force behind these changes is the need to supply the market with products which have a much higher degree of purity. In Europe in particular, the introduction of the EU medical device and in vitro regulations 2017/745/EU and 2017/746/EU, which will come into force in 2020, will drive the producers of medical devices to examine alternative materials, which fully comply with these new regulations. Other geographical regions will also be forced to comply with these regulations, since from 2020 it will be very difficult to supply the European Union, unless all their products comply as well.
The global market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) in automotive applications is with few exceptions, growing faster than any other elastomer. It is estimated to be 1.97 million t in 2019. This is forecast to rise to 2.86 million t by 2024, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 % over the period 2019 to 2024. This CAGR is slightly above the 6.2 % GAGR for the total global thermoplastic elastomers’ market. The following article will have a closer look at the reasons of growth.
Automotive accounts for about 45 % of global TPE consumption. Within the automotive sector, ownership patterns are shifting toward electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles (AVs), semi-autonomous vehicles (semi-AVs), and various forms of ride sharing have entered the market. These shifts have created new functional roles for automotive TPEs. The new opportunities will result from broader performance requirements, the need to bring smart functionality (smart TPEs), more versatile fabrication process technology and shortened/shifting supply chains.
Industry under economic and transformation pressure
The automotive industry is under economic and transformation pressure worldwide. On the one hand, the transition to electric mobility must be shouldered. On the other hand, the poor state of the industry as a result of the US customs wars under President Donald Trump is causing concern. Switching to electro mobility will result in the loss of jobs in the industry, which cannot be compensated for by the growth processes in the coming years. Important value creation in the internal combustion engine sector will be lost bit by bit and replaced by highly automated battery and electric motor production.
Recessionary conditions will affect both the supply and demand sides of the auto sector and disrupt/reconfigure the auto interior supply chain. The composition of auto sales is changing. Some segments (e.g. compact utility vehicles, CUVs) are becoming saturated, EVs and hybrids will show strong gains in market share, especially in North America.
New market study from IAL Consultants
IAL Consultants has recently published the seventh edition of its report entitled “Global Overview of the Thermoplastic Polyurethane Market.” This new study examines the national, regional, and global markets for thermoplastic polyurethanes for 2020 and builds upon the research from previous editions of the publication. It explores the market trends driving TPU production and subsequent demand, provides an indication of raw material consumption, and also presents future growth opportunities in the TPU market. Five-year market forecasts to 2025 are also included.
Global bioplastics market is set to grow by 36 % over the next five years
The results of the European Bioplastics’ (EUBP) annual market data update, presented on 2 December 2020 at the 15th EUBP Conference, confirm the continued dynamic growth of the global bioplastics industry. Bioplastics represent about 1 % of the more than 368 million t of plastic produced annually. But as demand is rising, and with more sophisticated applications and products emerging, the market for bioplastics is continuously growing and diversifying. Global bioplastics production capacity is set to increase from around 2.11 million t in 2020 to approximately 2.87 million t in 2025. Innovative biopolymers, such as bio-based PP (polypropylene) and especially PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) continue to drive this growth.
Post-Covid TPE consumption to rise at 9.5 % year-on-year after 31 % drop in 2020
In 2021 the thermoplastic elastomer market is estimated to be 3.84 million t and is expected to grow to 5.55 million t by 2026. In 2021 the largest end use market is automotive which is estimated to be 1.69 million t. In 2026 the largest end use market will still be automotive which is estimated to be 2.46 million t. In 2021 Asia-Pacific had the largest share of the market at 49.63 % and this is expected to increase to 50.12 % of the market share by 2026.