LEATHERHEAD, England—The global market for thermoplastic elastomers will grow at a yearly rate of more than 5 percent throughout the next five years, according to researchers at Leatherhead-based Smithers Pira.
The sector has expanded at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4 percent since 2012 to reach 4.24 million metric tons in 2017, the firm estimated in its latest market study titled "The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2022."
And, despite its increasing maturity, Smithers research shows this growth will continue at a rate of 5.5 percent across the next five years to hit 5.53 million tons in 2022.
The report forecasts that styrene-block-copolymer-based materials, which have long dominated the global TPEs market, will slowly lose market share to other olefinic-based 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," Smithers Pira noted, 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," the report said.
The automotive industry remains the principal end-use application for TPEs. This segment grew at an above average rate of 5.9 precent during the five-year period from 2012 to 2017, reading 1.84 million ton—or 43.4 percent of the total market in 2017.
Smithers Pira's prediction for 2022 is a consumption of 2.46 million tons, representing a market share of 44.4 percent and a CAGR of 6.0 percent.
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, according to the report.