For several years engineering plastics have been generating higher growth rates than standard plastics. Given their physical and chemical properties, many industrial, electrical and electronic parts as well as everyday products are made from engineering plastics. Faced with an increasing demand for ever more efficient and lighter materials, this trend will continue to gather momentum. The market research institute Ceresana expects global market value of engineering plastics to rise to approx. US$90 bln in 2020. On a global level, electrical and electronic applications as well as consumer goods are among the most important sales market for many engineering plastics - almost 25% of global demand originates in each of these two sectors. Third largest market is the transportation sector, followed by construction. On a regional level, however, notable differences become apparent. In Western Europe, for example, transportation is the largest sales market. While Asia Pacific mainly utilizes engineering plastics in the production of consumer goods such as coffee machines, dishwashers, washing machines, toys, and sports utensils, processing almost 30% of regional demand in this sector. Also, individual products show distinct differences in regard to application areas. While transportation accounts for 35% of polyamide (PA) consumption, household and consumer goods are the major consumers of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
Global market for engineering plastics, estimated at 19.6 mln metric tons in 2012, is further projected to maintain a CAGR of over 5% during 2012-2020 in reaching 29.1 mln metric tons by 2020. In terms of value, demand for engineering plastics is projected to register a corresponding CAGR of 7.9% in reaching US$113.7 bln by 2020 from an estimated US$67 bln in 2013 and a forecast US$72.5 bln in 2014, as per Researchandmarkets.com. The emerging regions such as Asia, South America, Middle-East and developing regions from Europe have been witnessing sizeable growth prospects for engineering plastics. Growing purchasing power in the developing economies is seen as a key driver of demand for engineering plastics in these regions. Primary drivers include hitherto unexplored opportunities of replacing metals not only in automobiles, but also in the areas of household appliances, construction and infrastructure, etc. For example, Asian economy has been thriving primarily due to advancements in the traditional sectors of automobiles, building and construction, business machines, electrical & electronics, household appliances, telecommunications and transportation. Engineering Plastics are being widely employed in auto parts, consumer goods and electrical & electronics applications.
As per Markets and Markets, the market for engineering plastics is being driven by the expansion of existing application markets and emergence of new markets. Engineering plastics possess superior mechanical, chemical and thermal properties along with light weight and high strength characteristics that allow these plastics to replace metals and glass in many applications. Engineering plastics offers dimensional stability with high impact, temperature, flame and moisture resistance. The presence of such diverse properties makes them suitable for use in myriad and diverse applications. The applications for engineering plastics ranges from automotives and electrical & electronic components to medical, construction, industrial and consumer appliances. Automotive and transportation industry is the largest end use application for engineering plastics. The growing trend towards lower vehicle weight, lower emissions and enhanced fuel efficiency is expected to drive the consumption growth of engineering plastics in the automotive and transportation industry. The high sales growth of the passenger cars in emerging markets such as China and India is also expected to boost the market. Electrical and electronics is the second largest application for engineering plastics where they are increasingly being used in LV switchgear, mini circuit breakers or residual circuit devices electrical installation, lighting such as lamp fitting, ESL lamp base, luminaries and connectors etc. The global market for engineering plastics in terms of revenue was estimated to be worth US$45,232.2 mln in 2011 and is expected to reach US$76,823.4 mln by 2017, growing at a CAGR of 9.1% from 2012 to 2017. Asia Pacific dominates the global engineering plastics market, accounting for 38.3% of the overall market in 2011. The growth in the Asia Pacific market is expected to be fuelled by countries such as China and India.