The increasing demand of styrenics in Asia-Pacific, especially in China, and growth in end-user applications such as the construction and automotive industry, are key factors driving the global market, as per Research and Markets. Polystyrene (PS) is the major polymer which is largely consumed, followed in terms of usage by Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). Properties of PS and EPS make it suitable for a wide variety of applications such as construction, packaging and consumer goods. The automotive industry is the major consumer of Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) particularly in tire manufacturing. Unsaturated Polyester Resin (UPR) has its applications in pipes and tanks, marine accessories and wind energy. The immense potential of styrenics market is attracting various small and big level industry players. It is experiencing a huge surge, especially in Asia-Pacific, due to its flourishing infrastructure sector. It is the highest growing market followed by Europe and North America, driving the global consumption of styrene-based polymers. Expansion is the major growth strategy adopted by the market players. Most of the companies are expanding their operations to new regions and developing new products so as to increase their styrenic polymers business. However, the diversified range of styrene-based products and varied application areas provide opportunities for all players, not allowing one particular player to lead the market. Asia-Pacific is driving the market, contributing more than 50% of the global demand. The other drivers include high growth in wind energy applications of UPR and increased SBR demand due to tire labeling regulations. Due to cost and performance advantages, UPR is widely used in the manufacturing of wind blades, rotors and ventilators. Similarly, tire labeling regulations, being adopted by different countries such as Germany, Japan, etc., has led to an increased SBR demand worldwide, especially in the automobile industry. Increasing environmental and health concerns due to usage of styrene and acceptance of other resins as a substitute to Unsaturated Polyester Resin (UPR) were identified as major restraints. At present, their impact on the market is relatively high. However, emerging economies and innovations in products will create growth opportunities for styrenics in the near future. Companies producing or planning to produce styrenics in the near future are opting for expansion by introducing new facilities and increase in capacity. The market is a highly diversified market consisting of different types of polymers, each having wide range of applications. Due to this, there are large numbers of players operating in the market engaged in the manufacturing of different styrene-based products for different applications. Expansion is the major growth strategy adopted by the market players. Most of the companies are expanding their operations to new regions and developing new products so as to increase their styrenic polymers business. However, the diversified range of styrene-based products and varied application areas provide opportunities for all players, not allowing one particular player to lead the market.
According to Transparency Market Research, the global ABS demand was worth US$16.2 bln in 2011 and is expected to reach US$26.1 bln in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 7% from 2012 to 2018. The major factor driving ABS consumption is the increasing demand from end user applications such as automobiles, appliances and consumer goods. ABS is one of the leading engineering plastics and is increasingly finding usage across a host of industries. There has been a shift in preference towards consumers demanding higher fuel economy in automobiles. Reduction in automobile weight is a primary facet in this regard and the increased use of plastic is inevitable. ABS is used in a variety of automotive applications like trims, panels and coatings among others which is expected to increase its demand over the next six years. China is expected to remain the largest regional market for ABS and is estimated to account for roughly 61% of the global demand by 2018. Low labor and operating costs in China, have forced a considerable number of multinational manufacturing companies to shift their manufacturing units to China. The country is also the world’s largest automobile manufacturing nation and consumes huge volumes of plastics, of which ABS is an essential part. However, ABS faces the threat of being substituted by other thermoplastics, particularly polypropylene and polystyrene. Both these plastics have excellent properties and are increasingly being used as substitutes to ABS in automobile and consumer goods applications. In addition, ABS comprises of monomers that are hazardous and have serious exposure impact on humans and the environment. These factors could act as major inhibitors for the market and could hamper the demand for ABS over the coming years. ABS demand is dominated by appliance applications, which accounted for over 32% of overall ABS volumes in 2011. However, automotive and consumer goods are fast growing applications of ABS and are expected to gain a substantial market share over the next six years. The rest of Asia region comprising of countries like India, Japan, Taiwan and Korea is the second largest consumer of ABS after China. The region accounted for over 15% of the global demand in 2011 and is expected to gain market share over the forecast period. With manufacturing capacities being shifted towards China and India and mature domestic demand, North America and Europe are expected to be somewhat stagnant markets for ABS in the near future.