The automotive industry will continue to dominate the thermoplastic elastomers market to 2022

The global market for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) will grow strongly across the next five years according to the latest exclusive research from Smithers Rapra.

Its latest in-depth study – The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2022 charts how this sector has expanded at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% for since 2012 to reach 4.24 million tonnes in 2017. Even though TPEs is an increasingly mature market, Smithers research shows this growth will continue at a rate of 5.5% across the next five years to hit 5.53 million tonnes in 2022.

The success of thermoplastics depends on their acceptance and growth within a number of different industries. The automotive industry, being the most important consumer of TPEs, sets the pace here. Equally, the economic health and growth of any country and region has a real effect on the supply and demand of thermoplastic elastomers. If a given market is suffering, due to outside competition, this will have a knock-on effect on TPE consumption.

Patrick Ellis report author

Smithers analysis sub-divides this booming market by TPE type, end-use application and geographic region.

Styrene-block-copolymer-based TPEs (TPS) have long dominated the global market for thermoplastic elastomers, but it will slowly lose market share to other olefinic-based products over the next five years. In 2022, it will still be the most important thermoplastic elastomer, but this may not last for very long. The main weaknesses of TPS are its higher price and the fact that there appear to be very few technical refinements in the pipeline. The introduction of cross-linkable TPS is showing some promise, but this is still a long way from commercial introdcution. 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 principal end-use application for thermoplastic elastomers is the automotive industry. 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. The 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.

The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2022 is guided by primary research and supported by extensive industry data, both of which underpins our appraisal of existing market conditions and our forecasting. The primary research was based on interviews with industry personnel across the value chain, including leading suppliers, manufactures and end users. Discussions with industry influencers supplemented this research. Secondary research was founded on an extensive literature review of market and company reports, magazines and journal abstracts, trends, and market information.

The Future of Thermoplastic Elastomers to 2022 is available for £4,500.

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Smithers Rapra is the global leader in rubber, plastics, polymer and composites testing, consulting and information products and events, with key focuses including the tyre, industrial, transportation, consumer and medical industries.