The shift in trend towards replacing metals, rubbers and polymers which are hazardous to the environment has been acting as one of the primary factors driving the demand for thermoplastic elastomers in the recent past. Copolyester elastomers (COPEs) emerged as one of the fastest growing members of the thermoplastic elastomer family. Growing demand for high-performance, low-weight material from the automotive industry has been driving the demand for COPEs in the past, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. Copolyester elastomers outweigh other members of thermoplastic elastomer family in terms of its chemical and physical properties. COPEs have properties similar to that of vulcanized elastomers. Fuel efficient automobiles have emerged as the latest strategy of automobile manufacturers to attain sustainability. One primary way to increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles is to reduce the overall weight of automobiles.
Thermoplastic elastomers (including COPEs) have emerged as the most preferred choice of polymers for automobile manufacturers in order to achieve this goal. COPEs have an excellent tear and tensile strength, abrasion resistance and flex life and good electrical properties. In addition, their high resistance to fuel, oil and chemicals make them ideal for under the hood automotive applications. Developed countries of Europe along with the U.S. and Japan account for a greater chunk of the global market owing to the growing demand for high-performance materials for under the hood automotive applications. However, the market in these developed economies is about to reach its saturation and the demand for COPEs is expected to grow at a sluggish rate over the next decade. However, demand for COPEs in the medical application has emerged as a potential market in these countries and is expected to drive its future market. Emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America, on the other hand, holds great potential in the near future owing to growing automobiles market mainly in China, India, and Brazil. Major automobile manufacturers have been making their presence in these emerging markets by the means of acquisition and alliances with local manufacturers.
Automotive sector emerged as the leading application segment and accounted for 49.67% of total market volume in 2013, and the segment is also expected to be fastest growing application market for COPEs at an estimated CAGR of 4.94% from 2014 to 2020. COPEs have been experiencing rapid growth in the automotive industry due to increased focus on reduction of weight of the vehicle which results in increased fuel efficiency and speed. The growing automotive industry in India and China results in augmented demand for fuel efficient cars. Stringent government rules in North America regarding reduction in vehicular weight have increased the use of COPEs in the automotive market. Use of COPEs in medical applications is a relatively unexplored market. Use of COPEs in the electrical application is expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecasted period.
North America was the largest consumer of COPEs due to the presence of automotive market in the region. Stringent government rules regarding automotive weight has also helped the growth of this market. North America accounted for 39.14% of total market volume in 2013. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing regional market for COPEs at an estimated CAGR of 5.4% from 2014 to 2020. Consumption of COPEs is concentrated predominantly in United States, Europe, and Japan with China emerging as a major consumer owing to the growth of the domestic automotive industry. In addition the developing economies of India, Brazil and Russia are expected to be the key consumers over the forecast period on account of the developing consumer goods market in the region. North America and Europe are mature markets for COPEs and are expected to grow at a relatively sluggish rate over the forecast period.
The global market for Copolyester elastomers is fragmented within many companies including Bayer Ag, BASF, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, Dow Chemicals, DuPont, Huntsman Corporation, LG Chem Ltd., Lubrizol, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, Nippon Polyurethane, etc.
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