Polymer products, polyols and polyurethane, find widespread applications across the world. Polyether polyols and polyester polyols are some of the commercially available polyol products. Coatings, flexible foam, adhesives and sealants, rigid foam, elastomers, etc. are some of the commercially available polyurethane products.
Globally, the market for polyols and polyurethane has been receiving a major boost from the flourishing automotive, furniture and interiors, and construction industries globally. Soaring demand for furniture and interiors, particularly in Asia Pacific where the construction industry has literally exploded on account of the improving economy in most nations, has provided a solid fillip to the global market for polyols and polyurethane. Supply limitation and price volatility of raw materials are some of the crucial challenges the market is struggling to overcome.
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The market for polyols and polyurethane showcases high degree of backward integration as most prominent manufacturers are involved in upstream activities. This backward integration offers the various players in the market with a solid competitive edge vis-à-vis steady supply of raw materials. Currently, the main thrust has been on retention of customers and offering quality products.
A report by Transparency Market Research forecasts the market for polyols will to rise at a steady 4.7% CAGR from 2015 to 2023 to reach a value of US$ 25.29 bn by 2023 from US$ 16.67 bn in 2015. The report predicts the market for polyurethane to expand at a slightly higher CAGR of 5.9% from 2015 to 2023 to reach a value of US$ 80.76 bn in 2023.
Furniture and Interior Industry Drives up Demand for Polyurethane
The two main types of polyols in the market are polyether polyols and polyester polyols. Among the two, polyether polyols dominate the market in terms of volume. The main types of polyurethane are flexible foams, coatings, rigid foams, adhesives and sealants, and elastomers. Of them, flexible foam holds maximum share in the global polyurethane market. In 2014 it accounted for more than 35% share in the market. Rigid foams comes second in terms of market share and is trailed by coatings, elastomers, adhesives and sealants.
In terms of end users, the furniture and interiors segment generates maximum demand for polyurethane. They are followed by building and construction sectors and automobile segments comes in third. Polyurethane finds application in furniture and interior industry as the primary material for manufacturing cushions, mattresses, and other things. Polyurethane rigid foam is also widely used as an insulation material in building and construction.
Automotive interiors and seats cushions are made from polyurethane. Hence with a burgeoning automotive industry worldwide the market has been seeing a constant upswing.
Building and Construction Industry Boosting Market in Asia Pacific
Geographically, the key segments in the global polyols and polyurethane market are Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Europe. Asia Pacific and Europe are considered the main markets. The phenomenal growth in the building and construction industry along with the automobile industry are primary factors propelling the market in Asia Pacific. In 2014, Asia Pacific accounted for 35% share in the overall market. Asia Pacific holds out a strong promise for polyols and polyurethane products and companies are rushing in to establish capacities in the region.
The Middle East and Africa is also a key market in terms of demand and going forward will likely expand at a healthy pace vis-à-vis volume.