AN ANALYSIS of the global market for expandable polystyrene (EPS) has been released.
Market research firm Ceresana carried out the study, which revealed that global demand for EPS in the construction and packaging industries will slow down, but continues.
It also goes on to highlight factors like the recovery of the construction sector after the financial and economic crisis in 2008/09, state-funded programs to improve energy efficiency, and increasing wealth and population in emerging countries.
Average growth rates of 4.8% p.a. that have been generated in the previous eight years are unlikely to be reached again, but Ceresana nevertheless expects consumption to increase at an AAGR of 3.8% in the next eight years.
An expected market volume of more than US$15 billion in 2020 shows that the market for EPS is well worth a closer examination.
Asia-Pacific already is the most important consumer of EPS worldwide, accounting for about 54% of global demand, followed by Western and Eastern Europe. Market analysts at Ceresana forecast Asian-Pacific countries to continue to gain shares of the global EPS market, mostly at the expense of saturated industrialized countries in Western Europe and North America.
Developing and emerging countries, on the other hand, can capitalize on an increasing per capita consumption of packaging materials and other EPS-based products. The by far most important growth motor on the international market is China.
One of the major application areas is the construction sector that accounted for more than 61% of total demand in 2012. European countries in particular record a widespread use of EPS in the construction sector, as a range of state-funded programs target at improving energy efficiency.
All around the world, EPS-based products are used in the construction of new residential building and in the refurbishment of old buildings. Even on saturated markets, this can create growth impulses because EPS consumption in the construction sector is expected to increase by 4.1% per year.
Packaging made from EPS that is, for example, used to transport fresh fish or electronic goods, account for more than a third of global demand. Especially in Asia-Pacific and South America EPS products are accounting for a significant share of total demand.
Other EPS-based products include recreational goods such as helmets, cores for surfboards, life jackets or foam cups for hot beverages. A particularly large consumption volume in this segment is recorded in North America, last but not least due to a comparatively high consumption of foam cups. EPS is also used in child safety seats, casting molds, and horticultural applications. Taken together, all these applications accounted for about 4% of global demand.