Global market for foamed plastics (polyurethane) is projected to reach 9.6 mln tons by 2015, driven by resurgent demand from construction, furniture and bedding, and automotive markets, as per Global Industry Analysts, Inc. The need for low-cost and long-lasting materials and rising significance of energy efficiency in appliances and buildings is expected to foster growth in the foamed plastics market. The global economic meltdown led to significant decline in demand for polyurethane (PU) foams across the globe, largely due to the contraction in majority of the end-use markets including automotive and construction. Both flexible and rigid PU foams registered decline during 2008 and 2009, with the demand for flexible PU foams registering steeper decline in the US and Western Europe. The crisis forced several companies, particularly small manufacturers to shutdown production units permanently, while manufacturers with multiple production units sought reprieve by closing down some capacity.
Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the United States dominate the world foamed plastics (polyurethane) market, as stated by the new market research report on foamed plastics (polyurethane). Buoyed by the robust Chinese, Indian and Hong Kong markets, Asia-Pacific region represents the fastest growing PU foams market, with a CAGR of 4.9% over the analysis period. Middle East has been witnessing healthy growth over the past few years. Increasing investments in polyurethane production, coupled with new encouraging regulations has largely contributed to market growth in the region.
Demand for PU foams is highly dependent on diverse end-use applications particularly in furniture and automotive sectors. Subdued consumer spending, slowdown in new housing starts, decline in automotive production, and increase in the volume of imported furniture contributed to a significant decline in PU production, particularly in the US and Canada. Despite such adversities, the market is expected to register growth owing to the increasing concerns about energy conservation. This is evident by the rising demand for spray polyurethane foam in the industrial and residential applications as well as the use of polyurethane for insulating structures such as tents at Army bases.
Furniture/Bedding represents the largest end-use market for PU foams, globally, with Asia-Pacific region offering enormous growth opportunities for the segment. An aging health conscious population is driving significant changes in the bedding industry. Mattresses are categorized as innerspring, foam, water, and air-filled, among which foam mattresses are likely to witness a booming growth. PU foam plays a significant role in the construction of mattresses due to its effectiveness in relieving pressure points. Demand for reactive polyurethane hot melt adhesives is likely to increase, which could displace solvent-based adhesives.
Global polyurethane market is largely dominated by the four stalwarts, which include Dow, Bayer, BASF and Huntsman, in terms of production capacity. Competitive factors determining the player market presence include price, quality, and assortment of products and services. Major players profiled in the report include BASF AG, Bayer AG, British Vita Unlimited, The Dow Chemical Company, FXI - Foamex Innovations, Huntsman Polyurethanes, Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Recticel S.A, and Woodbridge Foam Corporation.
The research report titled "Foamed Plastics (Polyurethane): A Global Strategic Business Report" announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a strategic review of the industry, key market trends, recent product launches, strategic corporate initiatives, and profiles of key market participants. The report provides annual sales estimates and projections for the years 2007 through 2015, and 2000 to 2006 by the following geographic markets - US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Rest of World. Key end-use markets analyzed include Furniture/Bedding, Automotive, Construction, Electrical Appliances, Recreational Equipment, Packaging and Others.