Global Engineering Plastics Market: Global Size, Trends, Competitive, and Historical & Forecast Analysis, 2022-2028: The market will expand due to the increasing demand for lightweight and high-performance materials in various industries, and rising demand for medical devices and equipment made using engineering plastics.
Global Engineering Plastics Market is valued at USD 102.52 Billion in 2022 and it is expected to reach USD 161.22 Billion by 2029 with a CAGR of 6.68% over the forecast period.
Engineering plastics are a group of high-performance thermoplastics that possess excellent mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. These plastics are used in a wide range of applications where traditional materials like metal and ceramics may not perform well. Engineering plastics were first introduced in the 1960s and were mainly used in the automotive and aerospace industries. In the 1970s, their use expanded to other industries such as electronics, consumer goods, and construction. Since then, the demand for engineering plastics has continued to grow due to their unique properties and versatility.
Engineering plastics are used in a wide range of applications such as automotive parts, electrical and electronic components, industrial machinery, medical devices, construction materials, and consumer goods. Some examples of engineering plastics include polycarbonate, polyamide, acetal, polyphenylene oxide, and polysulfone.
The revenue for engineering plastics is generated through the sale of the raw material, manufacturing of the plastic products, and distribution to end-users.
The supply chain for engineering plastics typically involves raw material suppliers, plastic manufacturers, distributors, and end-users.
The value chain for engineering plastics involves the production of raw materials, manufacturing of plastic products, distribution to end-users, and after-sales services such as maintenance and repair.
COVID-19 has had both positive and negative impacts on the engineering plastics market. On the positive side, the demand for medical devices and PPE made from engineering plastics has increased significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to a surge in demand for engineering plastics such as polycarbonate, ABS, and polypropylene. The market for medical-grade engineering plastics is expected to continue growing in the post-pandemic period, driven by the increasing demand for medical devices and equipment. However, on the negative side, the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain, leading to shortages of raw materials and delayed shipments. The reduced demand for engineering plastics from industries such as automotive, aerospace, and construction has also affected the market negatively. Moreover, the restrictions on manufacturing activities and workforce shortages have further impacted the market.
Increasing demand for lightweight and high-performance materials in various industries: The increasing demand for lightweight and high-performance materials in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and electronics is being driven by the need for improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and better performance. Engineering plastics are increasingly being used in these industries due to their unique combination of properties such as high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent impact resistance, and good chemical resistance.
Additionally, engineering plastics offer design flexibility, which allows for the creation of complex shapes and structures, making them ideal for use in applications such as automotive parts, aircraft components, and electronic housings. For example, The automotive industry is the largest end-user of lightweight materials, accounting for a share of 50.5% in 2020.
Rising demand for medical devices and equipment made using engineering plastics: The demand for medical devices and equipment made using engineering plastics is driven by several factors. Engineering plastics offer various advantages such as high strength, durability, and resistance to chemicals and high temperatures, making them suitable for use in medical applications.
The increasing demand for minimally invasive surgical procedures, coupled with the aging population and rising prevalence of chronic diseases, is driving the demand for medical devices and equipment made using engineering plastics. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6 in 10 adults in the United States have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 adults have two or more chronic diseases. The most common chronic diseases in the US include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The medical devices and equipment segment is the largest end-user of medical plastics, accounting for a share of 55.8% in 2020.
Fluctuations in the prices of raw materials: The fluctuations in the prices of raw materials used in the production of engineering plastics can be a significant restraint for the industry. Raw materials such as crude oil, natural gas, and petrochemicals, which are used to produce engineering plastics, are subject to price volatility due to factors such as supply-demand imbalances, geopolitical tensions, and weather-related disruptions.
For example, the price of natural gas, another important raw material for engineering plastics, has also been subject to fluctuations over the years. For instance, the price of natural gas in the United States rose from around USD 2 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2016 to around USD 4 per MMBtu in 2018, before falling to around USD 2 per MMBtu in 2020 due to oversupply and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Challenges associated with recycling and disposing: The challenges associated with recycling and disposing of engineering plastics can be a significant restraint for the industry. Engineering plastics are often used in high-performance applications that require durability, chemical resistance, and other specialized properties.
However, these same properties can also make it difficult to recycle or dispose of the materials after use. Engineering plastics may take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills, and burning them can release harmful pollutants into the environment. For example, 14% of the plastic packaging used globally is recycled, while 40% ends up in landfill and 32% leaks into the environment. Although engineering plastics make up a smaller portion of the overall plastic waste stream, the challenges associated with recycling and disposing of these materials are similar.
The growing demand for lightweight and high-performance materials in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, and electronics is driving the growth of the engineering plastics market. Additionally, the increasing use of engineering plastics in medical devices and construction materials is also creating new opportunities for market growth.
Product and technology development are significant trends in the engineering plastics market. Manufacturers are developing new formulations of engineering plastics with improved properties such as higher strength, durability, and heat resistance. Additionally, there is a trend toward developing more sustainable and environmentally friendly engineering plastics.
Customers in the engineering plastics market are increasingly looking for high-performance materials that are lightweight, durable, and cost-effective. Additionally, there is a growing demand for environmentally friendly materials that can be recycled or biodegraded.
The engineering plastics market is highly competitive, with several major players competing for market share. Key strategies employed by these players to remain competitive include product development and innovation, mergers and acquisitions, collaborations and partnerships, and expanding their geographical presence.
In the past, key market players have focused on mergers and acquisitions to expand their product portfolio and geographical presence. For example, in 2019, BASF SE acquired Solvay's polyamide business to strengthen its position in the engineering plastics market.
In the future, key market players are expected to focus on product development and innovation to meet the growing demand for high-performance and sustainable engineering plastics. Additionally, players are likely to explore new applications for engineering plastics in emerging markets to tap into new growth opportunities.
The North American market for engineering plastics is characterized by a high level of innovation and technological advancement, with several key players operating in the region. The automotive and aerospace industries are major consumers of engineering plastics in North America, driven by the need for lightweight and high-performance materials. The healthcare industry is also a significant market for engineering plastics in North America, driven by the increasing demand for medical devices and equipment. For example, according to the International Trade Administration, the automotive industry in the United States employs more than 1.7 million people and generates over USD 300 billion in annual revenue.
The European market for engineering plastics is expected to grow at a steady rate in the coming years, driven by the demand from end-use industries such as automotive, aerospace, and healthcare. In addition to these industries, the packaging and construction industries are also expected to drive demand for engineering plastics in Europe in the coming years. The increasing focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness is driving demand for bio-based and recyclable engineering plastics, particularly in the packaging industry. The region is home to several prominent players in the engineering plastics market, including BASF SE, Covestro AG, and DSM NV.
For example, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, the automotive industry in the European Union generated EUR 413.8 billion in revenue in 2019. Germany is the largest market for engineering plastics in Europe, accounting for around 27% of the market share in 2020.
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