Leatherhead, UK – The global market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) will grow at an annual rate of over 5% over the next five years, researchers at UK-based Smithers Pira have forecast.
The sector has expanded at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% for since 2012 to reach 4.24 million tonnes in 2017, the firm estimated in a new study of the market.
And, despite its increasing maturity, the researchers expect expansion to continue at a rate of 5.5% across the next five years to hit 5.53 million tonnes in 2022.
Styrene-block-copolymer-based materials (TPS), which have long dominated the global TPEs market, are expected to gradually lose market share to other olefinic-based elastomer products over the next five years.
“In 2022, TPS will still be the most important thermoplastic elastomer, but this may not last for very long,” said Smithers Pira – citing its higher price and, with the possible exception of cross-linkable TPS, a lack of significant technical developments in the pipeline.
“Furthermore the low barriers to market-entry for TPS is ensuring that there will continue to be overcapacity for this material for 2017-2022, especially in Asia and in particular China,” said the report titled The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2022.
The automotive industry remains the principal end-use application for TPEs. This segment grew at an above average rate of 5.9% for 2012-2017 and reached 1.84 million tonnes – or 43.4% of the total market in 2017.
Smithers Pira’s prediction for 2022 is a consumption of 2.46 million tonnes, representing a market share of 44.4% and a CAGR of 6.0%.
TPE demand in medical application is also forecast to witness above-average growth for the future, and to a lesser extent packaging.
Appliances and housewares; building and construction; sports, leisure, toys; and wire and cable are showing less-than-average growth but are nevertheless growing above regional GDPs, said the report.