Table of Contents
US demand to rise 2.6% annually through 2019
US demand for engineering plastics will grow 2.6 percent per year to 5.1 billion pounds in 2019, valued at $11.2 billion. Advances will represent an acceleration from the meager growth of the recessionplagued 2004-2014 decade. Increased demand for engineering plastics will be spurred by gains in consumer spending, construction activity, and manufacturing output. Additionally, engineering resins will benefit from penetration into both new applications, replacing traditional materials, and new technological advancements such as 3D printing.
Construction & medical markets show best potential
The largest outlets for engineering plastic will continue to be the motor vehicle and electrical and electronic markets. The motor vehicle market experienced a rapid post-recession revival in output during the 2009-2014 period. The motor vehicle market will increasingly rely on engineering plastics to reduce weight in order to increase the vehicle’s overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness as the volume of engineering plastics per vehicle increases. However, construction as well as the medical and consumer markets will provide the strongest growth potential. Although the recovery in building expenditures has lagged the other markets in recent years, construction will provide greater demand opportunities for engineering plastics going forward as construction activity rebounds. The medical and consumer market, on the other hand, experienced only a minor recessionary contraction in demand, and will continue to drive growth going forward as engineering plastics are utilized in more medical products and devices.
Smaller-volume specialty plastics to grow the fastest
While ABS, polycarbonate, and nylon will continue to be the three largest volume engineering plastics, comprising over 80 percent of the market through 2019, the fastest gains will be seen in smaller-volume specialty resins. PEEK, PPS, sulfone polymers, and fluoropolymers will grow at above-average rates as they increasingly replace metal components in high performance applications. Specialized use within mature markets as well as utilization in new products will drive overall demand. Large-volume resins will not see the growth enjoyed by their smaller-volume counterparts due to applications primarily in mature markets and competition from other resins, including other engineering plastics.
Technological advances, expanding markets to drive new applications
Engineering plastics, due to their versatility, will be poised to take advantage of new technological advancements. New technologies such as 3D printing and emerging markets such as solar power will provide the impetus for future expansion. Based on the advantageous properties of engineering plastics, the burgeoning 3D printer industry offers these resins, such as ABS and nylon especially, the opportunity to penetrate new applications that traditional manufacturing processes could not provide. Photovoltaic modules for solar energy also provide strong growth potential, particularly for fluoropolymers. Additionally, the pursuit of fuel efficiency will drive engineering plastics demand in transportation markets.
Details on these and other findings are contained in the upcoming industry study, Engineering Plastics, presents historical demand data (2004, 2009 and 2014) plus forecasts (2019 and 2024) by resin (e.g., nylon, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, polycarbonate, polyacetal, thermoplastic polyesters, fluoropolymers, polysulfones, phenylene oxide) and market. This study also considers key market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles 31 US industry participants.
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