Increasing demand for personal hygiene products coupled with growing population is expected to be a key driving factor for the growth of nonwoven fabrics market over the forecast period. Increasing birth rate and aging population has contributed to growing demand for hygiene products such as baby diapers, sanitary napkins and adult incontinence products which in turn is expected to fuel the demand for nonwoven fabrics. Nonwovens are used in road construction in the form of geotextiles to increase the durability of roads. Low maintenance costs associated with nonwovens is expected to fuel its demand in construction applications. Positive outlook on global automobile and transportation industry is further expected to propel growth for nonwoven fabrics market over the next six years. Automobile industry manufactures a large number of exterior and interior parts using nonwoven fabrics owing to its durability, moldability and being lightweight. Positive outlook on the global automotive industry is expected to have a positive impact on the market over the next six years. The shift in trend towards adoption of safety measures while following practices in the medical industry is also expected to have a positive influence on global nonwoven fabrics market growth. Volatile raw material prices coupled with stringent government regulation norms imposed on manufacturers on account of growing environmental concerns is anticipated to remain a key challenge for the nonwoven fabrics market.
To overcome such challenges, market participants have shifted their focus towards development of bio-based nonwoven fabrics to reduce the dependence on petrochemicals as raw materials along with minimizing the environmental impact associated with conventional nonwovens. Advance fibers such as polylactic acid (PLA) derived from vegetable starch or corn and viscose derived from wood take environmental regulations into consideration and enable innovative products for customers. Successful entry of these products into the global market is expected to provide future opportunities to market participants.
Global nonwoven fabrics market volume by product, 2012-2014
Polypropylene nonwoven fabrics emerged as the largest product segment and accounted for over 65% of the market volume in 2013. Industry participants extensively use polypropylene nonwoven fabrics owing to its availability in a variety of grades and properties which can be modified by auxiliary chemicals and treatments. Polypropylene is expected to dominate the global nonwoven fabrics market over the next six years. Polyester followed polypropylene to emerge as the second largest product segment in the global market. Polyester is anticipated to witness steady growth rate over next forecast period owing to growing penetration in applications such as automotive, agriculture and surgical and medical equipment.
Technologies used for manufacturing nonwoven fabrics vary accordingly to their web forming techniques which include spunlaid, carded, air laid and wet laid. Spunlaid nonwoven technology emerged as a leading technology segment and accounted for over 45% of market volume in 2013. Spunlaid is also expected to register the highest growth rate over the next six years owing to increasing use in hygiene and medical applications. Spunlaid nonwovens are preferred to other nonwoven fabrics due its high strength to weight ratio which is expected to drive its demand over the next six years. Meltdown technology is expected to witness steady growth rates over the forecast period owing to increasing applications in filtration, electronics, and automotive parts.
Global nonwoven fabrics market was dominated by durable applications which accounted for over 55% of total market volume in 2013. Increasing construction spending in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India have led to the demand for geotextiles in roads and buildings which in turn is expected to drive the demand for nonwovens in durable applications. Nonwovens are used in automotive industry to manufacture automobile interiors, cabin filters, floor mats and seat trims. Growing automotive industry in emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America are expected to augment further nonwoven fabrics market growth. Increasing birth rate coupled with aging population across various countries such as U.S., Japan, UK, Monaco, and Germany is expected to drive the demand for nonwovens in disposable applications over the forecast period. Nonwoven market is expected to witness significant growth owing to increasing medical applications such as surgical gowns, protective clothing, drapes, masks and patient apparel.
Asia Pacific dominated the global nonwoven fabrics market and accounted for over 42% of global volume in 2013. The increasing birthrate in China and India coupled with growing income levels is expected to drive the demand for nonwoven fabrics in hygiene applications. Aging population in Japan is also expected to drive the demand for nonwovens in disposable applications such as adult incontinence products. Rapid industrialization and growing population in China and India have resulted in demand for better infrastructure which in turn has increased the construction spending. This is expected to drive the market growth in durable applications such as geotextiles and construction materials. The Middle East is a relatively small market for nonwoven fabrics but is expected to register significant growth over the six years owing to increasing nonwoven application in construction and hygiene. North America and Eastern Europe are relatively mature markets and are expected to show moderate growth rates over the forecast period.
The global nonwoven market is highly fragmented with top five industry participants accounting for less than 20% of total nonwoven fabrics market. Leading companies are involved in the acquisition of smaller firms to gain market share. Key players operating in the global nonwoven fabrics market include Freudenberg, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Ahlstrom Incorporation, DuPont, Chevron Corporation, Polymer Group Incorporation, Asahi Kasei Corporation, Fiberweb. Other major players in the market include AVGOL, First Quality, Providencia, PEGAS, Fibertex, Mitsui, Fitesa, and Toray.
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