TPU Market Overview

TPU Market Overview

Polyurethane elastomers (TPU) are used invarious end-uses such as footwear & sporting goods, automotive, building& construction, industrial products, wire & cable, and medical products. It is also used in small volumes in adhesives & sealants,aerospace and marine equipments. TPU offers exceptional benefits by bridging the gap between flexible rubber and rigid plastics. The biggest TPU market and application outlet is in the footwear & sporting goods industry, currently accounting for 40% of the global demand. In the footwear industry, TPU has seen rapid growth as the market has moved towards high performance sports shoes and more importantly as a result of increasing fashion trends for footwear with thicker soles. On account of its excellent durability and resistance, TPU is used in manufacturing of sporting goods such as in-line skates, surfboards, ski boots, goggles and others.

Global TPU Demand

Global TPU Demand

The global TPU demand in 2017 was estimated to be around 504 kilo tons and it is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% between 2017 and 2025 to reach 761 kilo tons in 2025. Asia-Pacific was the biggest market at global level in 2017 accounting for almost 61% of the demand on account of increase in footwear & sporting goods and improved automotive production. The primary driver for growth in demand of TPU in Asia-Pacific has been the migration of labor intensive downstream conversion industries,shifting of footwear production from developed high labor cost regions like North America and Western Europe, apart from burgeoning population growth and increasing living standards, both of which are driving growth in domestic demand for consumer goods also.

North America and Western Europe together account for around 30% of global TPU consumption. Asia-Pacific region will increase its market share to 68% by 2025 to reach around 520 kilo tons. North America and Western Europe are expected to slightly decline their current market share of 15% to around 12% each by 2025. In the long-term forecast till 2025, North America and Western Europe are estimated to witness average growth rates between 2%-3%. Central & Eastern Europe is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% while the Rest of the World which includes Central & South America and Middle East & Africa together is likely to witness high growth rate of around 5%, albeit on a lower volume base.

Asia-Pacific will see the strongest level of demand growth spurred on by China.The consumption of TPUs in China has been increasing, mainly because of increasing demand from its end-use industries like footwear manufacturing and sporting goods. Around 55% of China’s demand was from footwear & sporting goods applications including microcellular products. The country has the largest and most diverse manufacturing sector and still remains one of the attractive locations for manufacturing. The chemicals and petrochemicals industry along with the increasing expansions and industrialization will create opportunities for thermoplastic elastomers which in turn will create growth for footwear production. India is the largest global producer of footwear after China accounting for around 13% of global footwear production and the country is expected to witness a boom on account of favorable government policies,infrastructure improvements and technology up gradation.
In the European region, the biggest application for TPU is the industrial sector followed by the footwear & sporting goods.

Western Europe Demand By Application -2017 (77 Kilo Tons)

Western Europe Demand By Application -2017 (77 Kilo Tons)

The major TPU producers in the world lie int hree regions: the United States, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. The major producers of TPU include Lubrizol, Wanhua, BASF, Huntsman Corporation,Covestro, Miracll Chemicals, Ravago Kimya and Dupont.

Global TPU Producers Capacity 2017

Global TPU Producers Capacity 2017 (830 Kilo Tons)

Global TPU capacity amounted to over 830 kilotons by year-end 2017. There are currently 20 major producers of TPU operating more than 30 major plants globally. Historically the capacity utilization had witnessed a decline in 2008 – 2009 following onset of global economic recessionary trend. The TPU market will see new plant capacity being added in China (including new TPU compounders), and there will be a continued market shift to China and other Asian countries. Many projects are slated for China,several of which are being carried out by local producers; however, we anticipate some project delays and closures in China as well. With total additions of slightly over 250 kilo tons of new project by 2025, China’s market share in the global capacity will increase from current 48% to 57% by 2025.

Lubrizol is the major producer of TPU with a market share of 21% with manufacturing facilities in U.S. Belgium, Spain, and China. BASF and Chinese Polyurethane manufacturer, Wanhua Chemical Group Co.,Ltd. both account for 14% of the TPU capacity each. Covestro and Lubrizol are carrying out capacity expansions at their respective manufacturing facilities in the United States.

Global TPU Capacity 2017

Global TPU Capacity 2017 (830 Kilo Tons)

The 2008-2009 global recession had a huge impact on all thermoplastics elastomers (TPE) including TPU demand in all end-use applications, but especially in the automotive sector, one of the largest end-use and the sector took time to fully recover from the shock of the financial crisis. TPUs are one of the relatively mature thermoplastic elastomer segments and although strictly not a market segment, ethylene vinyl acetate(EVA), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other elastomers replacement by TPU has been one of the major growth drivers, especially in the automotive sector.

TPU demand patterns are dramatically different between various regions and countries. In the areas with mature economies, demand growth for TPU is expected to fall well below global averages primarily due to the geographic shift of many manufacturing industries (such as the footwear & sporting goods, automotive and electrical & electronics industry) to areas of lower labor costs such as China and India. Overall, we forecast that demand for TPU will grow at an average rate of 5.3% per annum through 2025, above the 4.3%average post economic crisis.

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