The styrenic polymers market for medical applications was valued at US$2.08 bln in 2013 and is likely to reach US$ 3.29 bln in 2020, expanding at a CAGR of 7.5% between 2014 and 2020, as per Transparency Market Research. In terms of volume, the demand for styrenic polymers for medical application stood at 806.7 kilo tons in 2013. Styrenic polymers are an important class of plastics that are used widely in the medical and healthcare industry in various applications ranging from the manufacture of medical devices to pharmaceutical packaging. They exhibit a range of desirable physical and chemical properties, driving the styrenic polymers market for medical applications. The market is slightly restrained by the relatively higher price of styrenic polymers compared to competitors such as polyethylene and PVC.
High degree of research and innovation in the industry augurs well for the medical plastics market. This, in turn, is likely to propel the styrenic polymers market. Geriatric population has emerged as the fastest growing population segment in the world. Rise in geriatric population is expected to augment the market for medical styrenics in the near future.
In terms of product types, the styrenic polymers market can be segment into polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), methyl - methacrylate butadiene styrene (MBS), methyl - methacrylate acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (MABS), styrene methyl - methacrylate (SMMA), styrene butadiene styrene (SBS), styrene ethylene butylene styrene (SEBS) and others. Polystyrene, being the only commodity thermoplastic material among styrenic polymers, accounts for the major share of the styrenic polymers market for medical applications. Styrenic block copolymers such as SEBS and SBS are widely used in the manufacture of medical device parts, bags and tubes in the medical industry. The market for styrenic polymers in medical applications is largely driven by the higher demand for plastics (as a replacement for traditional metallic devices). Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the most popular medical polymer, has been facing regulatory issues owing to environmental concerns and product toxicity.
The market for styrenic polymers has benefitted from the drive to replace PVC in medical applications. Key players profiled in the report include Styrolution Group GmbH, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Chi Mei Corporation, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, LG Chem Ltd., and Styron LLC (Trinseo S.A.).
The use of plastics in the medical industry initially came as a replacement option to metallic devices, because plastics offered better durability and lower cost of manufacturing. The most commonly used plastic in the medical industry used to be polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which quickly became a highly popular option. PVC has, however, been facing opposition due to growing environmental concerns regarding the method of its manufacture and disposal of devices and items made using PVC. Thus styrenic polymers are being favored more in the medical industry today. Not only do styrenic polymer products display superior properties to PVC, but they are also a lot easier to recycle. Today, perhaps the only reason PVC might be preferred over styrenic polymers is its cheaper cost. Technological advancement will, however, resolve this by lowering the cost of production once demand picks up steam. A high volume of R&D efforts are envisioned to occur in North America, the region that held the largest share in 2013 (39.9%). Even Asia Pacific is showing swift improvements in the global styrenic polymers market in terms of research, production, and usage. It can, therefore, safely be concluded that the global styrenic polymers market is here to stay for quite some time. North America accounted for the largest market share (39.9%) of styrenic polymers for medical applications in 2013. Asia Pacific followed North America in terms of demand for styrenic polymers in 2013. The market for styrenic polymers in Asia Pacific is also estimated to experience the fastest growth rate during the forecast period.
As per Research and Markets, the global styrenic polymers market for medical applications is likely to expand at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2014 to 2020. Styrenic polymers offer several desirable product characteristics to cater to the diverse requirements of the medical industry. Styrenic materials can be processed to be rigid as well as flexible, as per end-user requirements. Owing to its flexibility, styrenic polymers offer unique advantages in design and development of medical devices and parts. Properties such as chemical inertness, unique bonding polarity, and physical and aesthetic properties boost the styrenic polymers market in medical applications. However, styrenic polymers are higher priced compared to other medical polymers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyethylene (PE). This hampers the market from achieving higher growth, especially in price sensitive markets, to some extent. North America accounted for the largest market share (39.9%) of styrenic polymers for medical applications in 2013. The styrenic polymers market for medical applications in North America was followed by Asia Pacific and Europe in 2013. Asia Pacific is likely to record the fastest growth in the global market for medical styrenics during the forecast period. Rapid increase in the geriatric population across the world coupled with constant improvement and innovation in the medical industry is projected to provide ample opportunity for the growth of styrenic polymers market for medical applications.
The global styrenic polymers market for medical applications is moderately concentrated in nature. Major companies operating in the market include Styrolution Group GmbH, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Chi Mei Corporation, LG Chem Ltd. and Kraton Polymers