The shift in trend to replace PVC (polyvinyl chloride) owing to growing environmental concerns in major end-use industries such as automotive and construction around the world has been boosting the demand for TPOs (thermoplastic polyolefins) in the recent past. PVC contains phthalates which are considered to be harmful to environment. TPOs represent a member of a large group of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). TPOs just like other members of TPE family including TPV, TPU, etc. have rubber-like properties but a process like polymers which makes them highly suitable for high performance applications in a variety of end-use industries. Compared to other TPE members, TPOs are relatively at a lower end of price linked performance. TPOs just like other TPEs can be fabricated using standard technologies including injection molding, extrusion, blow molding and calendaring. The global market for TPOs saw a decline in demand during the recession of 2008-2009, however, owing to recovery in automotive industry around the world, the demand for TPOs showed improvements. Automotive represents the largest end-use industry for TPOs, and the growth of the automotive industry is directly proportional to the growth of the global TPOs market. The growth of automotive industry mainly in the emerging economies of BRICS is expected to drive the future demand for TPOs. China is the largest automobile manufacturing country in the world. In addition, Brazil and India are listed in the top 10 automobile manufacturing countries. These markets are considered to highly profitable for automobile manufacturing both in terms of consumption and production. Major automobile manufacturers from the West have been shifting/opening the manufacturing bases in low-cost countries such as China, India, and Brazil in order to gain an advantage in markets with huge potentials. The growing automobile market in these countries is expected to drive the market for TPOs over the forecast period. However, volatility in raw material prices has been putting pressure on profit margins of producers which have been further inhibiting the market growth.
The automotive industry is a key segment in the application of TPOs. Automotive industry dominates the application market in terms of volume and revenue. Automotive emerged as the leading application segment and accounted for 75.5% of total market volume in 2013. This is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 6.6% 2014 to 2020. Other applications of TPO include film & sheet, molds, fibers & tapes in the packaging, construction, and medical sectors.
The TPO market in 2013 was dominated by North America in terms of volume with about 37%. It is followed by Asia Pacific region with 35% of the market share. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market for TPO at an estimated CAGR of 7% from 2014 to 2020. This can be attributed to the growing automotive markets in the emerging economies of China and India. Europe volume share is estimated to grow at a slower pace with the slowest CAGR of 5.9% due to its saturated markets.
Key companies in the market include Arkema SA (France), Chemtura Corp. (US), Dow Chemical Company (US), ExxonMobil (US) and SABIC (Saudi Arabia). Other players are INEOS Olefins & PolyOne Distribution, GAF, LyondellBasell, Spartech Polycom, RheTech, Johns-Manville Corporation, Noble Polymers (Cascade Engineering), Shell Chemical, A Schulman, Inc., RTP Company, Sumitomo Chemical, Saudi Aramco, Zylog and Polisystem UK Ltd.
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