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 Research and Markets. 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 for the same include hitherto unexplored opportunities of replacing metals not only in automobiles, but also in the areas of household appliances, construction and infrastructure, to name a few. 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.
Engineering plastics market in North America is likely to maintain a CAGR of about 5.5% to 6% during 2014-2020, with the United States accounting for the largest share in 2014, as per Mordor Intelligence. Styrene copolymers (ABS & SAN) represent the largest, as also the fastest growing product segment. By end-use area, while demand for engineering plastics is the largest for consumer goods & appliances, fastest growth is expected to be recorded by automotive and construction applications. North America engineering plastics market share is 13% Mexico, 7% Canada, and the balance 80% USA.
Metal replacement in existing products along with technological advances that will open the door to new applications for engineering plastics will drive growth. US demand for engineering plastics is expected to rise 2.6% pa to reach 5.1 bln lbs in 2019, according to a report by Freedonia Group. Demand, however, will be tempered by weak growth in mature markets and increasing competition from lower cost commodity resins.
The largest markets for engineering plastics will continue to be the automotive and electrical and electronics sectors. The motor vehicle market will increasingly rely on engineering plastics to reduce vehicle weight in order to improve fuel efficiency.
The fastest growth, however, will come from the construction, medical and consumer markets.
Nylon, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate will continue to be the three largest engineering plastics by volume, accounting for three-quarters of total demand in 2019. Nylon will post the most rapid increase of the three and will remain the largest engineering plastic. According to analyst Joseph Kocian, "This growth will be mainly driven by nylon supplanting metals in under-the-hood motor vehicle applications."Gains for ABS will be the slowest of all engineering plastics, restrained by competition from lower-cost resins and maturity in major applications. Polycarbonate will benefit from strong growth in the construction, medical and consumer markets, but overall will track the industry average because of continued decline in CD and DVD sales. Smaller-volume engineering plastics such as polyphenylene sulfide, sulfone polymers, fluoropolymers, and polyketones will exhibit the fastest growth. Specialized use in mature markets, as well as use in new products such as advanced batteries, photovoltaic modules and medical implants, will drive overall demand. These resins will see greater use in the electrical and electronic and motor vehicle markets, where they are typically used to fill specific high-temperature needs and the cost premium can be economically justified.
From 2014 to 2019, demand for Nylon is projected to grow at 3% from 1205 mln lbs to 1400 mln lbs, ABS at 1.8% from 1196 mln lbs to 1310 mln lbs, Polycarbonate at 2.5% from 983 mln lbs to 1110 mln lbs, Thermoplastic polyester at 2.5% from 471 mln lbs to 533 mln lbs.
The North America Engineering Plastic Market is witnessing a high growth because of the increasing demand from the end-user industry, especially from the automotive industry. As per a report by Micro Market Monitor, North America engineering plastic market is projected to reach US$31,490.48 mln by 2018, growing at a CAGR of 7.4% from 2013 to 2018. The key driver of the market is the new product development and product innovation initiatives by the market participants. Globally, the North American market has been a leader with respect to demand as well as product innovation in terms of quality and application development.