According to a newly published report by Allied Market Research titled, “Foam Plastics Market by Type and Application: Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2020–2027,”
The global foam plastics market was valued at $102.0 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $123.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 3.3% from 2020 to 2027.
Foam plastics are synthetic resins that are transformed into a sponge with an open-cell or closed-cell structure such as mass and any structure that can be rigid or flexible. They are used for various products, including thermal insulation, sponges, cushioning materials, construction panels, furniture, air purifiers, toys, lightweight beams, and plastic boats. Almost any thermoplastic or thermosetting resin can be turned into foam under suitable conditions. Polyethylene, silicones, vinyl, polystyrene, phenolic, cellulose acetates, and urethanes are the common foam plastics. By incorporating a blowing agent that decomposes at the fusion point of the plastic, which releases gas bubbles trapped during the gelling, foams with a closed-cell structure are produced. Foams with an open-cell structure are created by mixing an inert gas under pressure into the resin and later releasing the mixture into the atmosphere that heals the resulting foam.
The growing demand for automotive, furniture & bedding, and packaging applications is largely driving the foam plastics market. Favorable properties of foam plastics, such as stiffness, strength, thermal insulating properties, very low maintenance cost, and lightweight, is the primary driving factor. However, foam plastics are extremely flammable and release toxic gases after combustion. Therefore, these are the main factors that are likely to hamper the market growth in the near future.
In 2019, the polyurethane (PU) segment accounted for around 29.6% of the global foam plastics market. PU resins are used to create foams that are available in a wide variety of levels of rigidity, hardness, and density. In upholstery, bedding, vehicle & truck seating, and modern inorganic plant substrates for roof or wall gardens, low-density flexible foams are used.
The building & construction segment is expected to dominate the foam plastics market during the forecast period. Over the next 5 years, the building & construction sector is expected to witness the highest growth rate, led by massive investments in new infrastructure development and new housing projects.
The global foam plastics market is consolidated in nature with a few players such as Alchemie Ltd., BASF SE, Covestro, Hexion Inc., Huntsman International LLC, Repsol, Sabic, the Dow Chemical Company, Total S.A., and Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd., which hold significant share of the market. These players have been adopting various strategies to gain higher share or to retain leading positions in the market.
Key Findings Of The Study
- Depending on type, the polyurethane segment emerged as the global leader by acquiring more than 29.6% of the market share in 2019, and is anticipated to continue this trend during the forecast period.
- On the basis of application, the building & construction segment accounted for 36.4% of the global market share in FY2019.
- Asia-Pacific is the major consumer of foam plastics among other regions. It accounted for around 49.0% of the global market share in 2019.
- China is the major user of foam plastics among other countries, and accounted for more than 50.7% of the global market share in 2019.
Impact Of Covid-19 On The Global Foam Plastics Market
- The world is battling the contagious COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread across the globe.
- Some of the major economies suffering from the COVID-19 crises include Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Norway.
- Foam plastics are primarily used in building & construction, furniture & bedding, packaging, and automotive. In addition, due to the impact of national lockdown, these sectors were experiencing slight decline in growth rates.
- In many countries, the economy has dropped due to the halt of several industries, especially transport and supply chain. Demand for the product has been hindered as there is no development due to the lockdown.
- The demand supply gap, disruptions in raw material procurement, and price volatility are expected to hamper the growth of the building & construction industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The markets in North America and Europe are expected to undergo a period of decline in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. However, the production of foam plastics is expected to increase steadily as the demand for protective packaging solutions increases across industries.
- Until the end of 2020, the demand for foam plastics is expected to remain weak. However, manufacturers are resuming work in a few countries, such as China, Canada, and India, with strategic planning to rapidly rebound from the losses. Analysts forecast that the demand for foam plastics is projected to gain considerable traction by 2021.