The global consumption of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) is expected to grow to 5,487 thousand tonnes by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% from 2015 to 2020.
The statistics are highlighted in a new report from Smithers Rapra, The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2020, which examines the cutting-edge technologies affecting the TPE market and analyses future trends in the automotive, building and construction, industrial, footwear, medical and healthcare sectors.
The automotive (and in general transportation) as well as the building and construction markets represent more than half of global TPE consumption. While the recession strongly affected these two markets, only the automotive sector seems to have made a partial recovery. Nevertheless, the global TPE market is showing quite good growth, though growth rates are not as buoyant as they once were.
“Average growth rates are now settling down and with possible exceptions, they are nowhere near as high as they were ten years ago. This is a sign that TPEs are beginning to become a mature market as their acceptance increases globally,” said Patrick Ellis, Author of the report.
Commodity TPEs (TPE-S, TPE-O and TPE-V) occupy the largest market share in 2015, which will recede slightly in 2020 due to increased sales of higher performance TPEs. This change will be driven by the demand for higher heat and chemical resisting TPEs in the automotive sector.
The report suggests new cutting-edge technologies are on the horizon, with continuous emphasis on the growth of biomass-sourced TPEs and a possible future for TPE-based smart rubbers. TPE-E is the rising star of the global TPE market: it occupies just over 4% of the global TPE market in 2015, but with a 2015-20 CAGR of 8.1%, Ellis says its fortunes are looking “positive indeed”.
Automotive and other transportation applications will continue to dominate the end-use market increasing their market share to 44% in 2020. Rising stars are medical and hygiene applications, as well as those for wire and cable. They are showing high CAGRs for the 2015-20 period and will jointly occupy over 15% market share in 2020.
Asia continues to be the largest and fastest growth market and China remains the dominant player in this region. Both Europe and North America are in slight recession, while some market share gains are being shown in the rest of the world. The CAGRs for 2015 to 2020 are somewhat mixed, showing Asia/Pacific leading with 7.3%, followed by the rest of the world at 5.1%. Europe and NAFTA follow on with 3.2 and 4.0%, respectively.