Growing polymer foam demand from major end-use industries such as construction, automotive and packaging is expected to remain a major driving factor for the global market growth over the forecast period. Polymer foams are gaining importance in wind energy systems and in furniture & bedding applications. This trend is expected to further complement the global market growth. Polymer foams such as PU foams are largely used in automotive seating applications. Increasing automotive production in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Korea along with major manufacturing hubs such as U.S., Japan and Western Europe are expected to drive the global market. Increasing infrastructure spending in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil is expected to drive polymer foams demand over the forecast period. Polyolefins are being widely used in automotive components such as gaskets, cushioning, headlines and cables. Increasing automotive production is expected to drive polyolefin foams demand over the forecast period.
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Conventional polymers such as polystyrene, PVC and polyolefins are non-biodegradable and are carcinogenic in nature. Stringent regulations stipulated by ECHA and EPA regarding the abovementioned factors are expected to act as a major restraint to the global market growth. Volatile petrochemical pricing, feedstock to polymers, is expected to further challenge the global market growth. In order to counter such challenges, companies have shifted towards developing polymers through bio-based sources. This trend is expected to offset the aforementioned challenges.
Asia Pacific is a major regional polymer foams market and is characterized by increasing infrastructure spending and growing automotive production. Emerging markets such as China and India along with Southeast Asian markets are expected to be major polymer foams consumers in the region. North America and Europe are expected to witness sluggish growth rates over the forecast period due to increasing regulatory intervention to reduce reliance on conventional polymers. Economic crisis in Western Europe has been affecting the growth of industries such as construction and automotive. This is expected to further constrain European market growth.
Major companies operating in the global polymer foams market include INEOS Styrenics, Armacell, BASF SE, Woodbridge Foam Partner, JSP Corporation, Carpenter Co., Rogers Corporation, British Vita Foams and Recitel SA.
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