London – The global market for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) reached almost 500kT in 2015, IAL Consultants has estimated.
The firm predicts annual growth of 3.7% for the material over the next five years and said more than 60% was produced within the Asia Pacific (APAC).
TPU production in China is now forecast to grow by 4.7% year-on-year to 2020 due to the sharp drop in the country’s growth rates, down on the current estimate of 7% to 8%. The Americas compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is predicted at 2.5% while the CAGR for Europe, Middle East and Africa’s will be 1.7%, the firm said.
According to IAL’s research, there has been an “upsurge of interest in the APAC region as a whole, leading China to continue strengthening its position as the largest TPU producer in Asia and the world, further enhanced by an array of capacity expansions in the country.
“At the same time, global TPU manufacturers are seeking to improve their supply chain links with China and the rest of Asia, with the European and American TPU markets being seen as more mature (less attractive).
Lower production growth rates in China, researchers said, is the “result of the difficulties encountered in the footwear sector, where China is reducing, if not losing, its competitive edge.”
The global construction sector “rather sluggish” IAL said, “although there is a generalised upward trend in the usage of thermoformable composite panels.”
IAL said: “Now more than ever, both TPU producers and converters across all regions can expect innovation to play a key role in strengthening and gaining market share” especially in new technology platforms like 3D printing or expandable TPUs (E-TPUs)” – which are being used in footwear innovation, as we reported earlier this week.