PU demand in North America was 3,214.3 kilo tons in 2012. The growth of major end-use industries such as construction and automotive particularly in Mexico have been major factors driving PU market in the region. Increasing concerns regarding energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy losses have prompted the importance for energy efficiency in households, commercial and industrial buildings. This trend coupled with government support to improve energy efficiency is also expected to have a positive influence on the market growth in the construction industry over the forecast period. The growth of construction industry in Mexico on account of increasing infrastructure needs due to urbanization and industrialization is expected to play a major role in market development in the region. The automotive industry in the region has been experiencing a significant change over the years, and there is an increasing trend towards reduction of automobile weight to improve fuel efficiency. Polyurethane along with other plastics has become a vital part of the new trend as they are capable of providing substantial weight reduction. Auto manufacturers to enhance the performance of automobiles and follow the trend of light weight vehicles are focusing mainly on auto components which are manufactured from various types of plastics. PU is widely used in the manufacture of automotive components such as instrument panels, exterior parts, engine encapsulation, seating, armrests, and headrests. This trend coupled with increasing automotive production in the U.S. is expected to drive the regional PU market growth over the next six years.
Volatile prices of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diisocyanate (TDI), major raw materials used for producing PU on account of fluctuation in prices of their preceding feedstock such as formaldehyde and benzene are expected to pose challenges to market participants. Increasing R&D by companies to develop bio-based PU to reduce dependence on petrochemical raw materials is expected to yield opportunities to PU market participants in the region.
North America polyurethane market volume estimates and forecast, 2012-2020 (Kilo Tons)
Rigid foam emerged the largest product segment and accounted for one-third of the total market volume in 2013. Growing importance of energy conservation and reducing carbon emissions is expected to drive rigid PU foams to demand in insulation applications over the forecast period. Increasing construction spending in Mexico and U.S. to improve public and transportation infrastructure is expected to fuel rigid PU foam demand over the next six years. On account of the above-stated factors, rigid foams are expected to be the fastest growing product segment for PU market in North America. Flexible foams are widely used in upholstery, automotive seating, furniture, and bedding applications. Increasing disposable income and changing lifestyle in Mexico has led to the growth of furniture industry which in turn is expected to drive flexible foam demand over the next six years.
End-use industries analyzed in the report include furniture & interiors, construction, electronics & appliances, automotive, footwear, and packaging. Construction was the largest end-use industry and accounted for more than one-third of the regional PU market in 2013. Increasing infrastructure spending in the U.S. to improve existing road and public infrastructure has been a major factor driving the market growth in construction. Increasing demand for better infrastructure in Mexico on account of urbanization and industrialization is expected to drive further its growth over the next six years. The growth of automotive industry coupled with increasing PU application in automotive components is expected to drive further the market growth over the forecast period. Increasing PU demand in electronics for encapsulation and durable packaging purpose is expected to have a positive impact on the market.
The U.S. was leading consumer of PU in the region accounts for over three-fourth of regional demand in 2013. The presence of a large number of PU manufacturers has been a major factor driving the growth of the market in the U.S. Increasing construction spending to improve existing infrastructure coupled with low-interest levels have fueled the housing market in the region. The growth of residential infrastructure sector in the region is expected to fuel the U.S. market growth over the forecast period. Mexico is expected to significant growth over the forecast period owing to the growth of end-use industries such as construction and automotive. Growing income levels and stable credit rating in the region is expected to fuel the demand for automobiles, footwear and furniture products. This, in turn, is expected to drive the demand for various PU products such as rigid foams, flexible foams, PU adhesives and coatings for the respective applications.
North America PU market is highly concentrated with top four companies Bayer Material Science, Huntsman, BASF and Dow Chemicals Co. accounting for more than 70% of the market share in 2013. Other major companies operating in the market include Foamex Innovations, Nippon Polyurethanes, Woodbridge Foam Corporation, Recitel S.A. and British Vita Unlimited. Major manufacturers have shifted their focus towards development of bio-based PU to attain sustainability.
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