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“The growth of the global functional polymer sponge market is driven by rise in demand for lightweight material in aerospace and automotive industries.”


Functional Polymer Sponge Market size is forecast to reach $5.5 billion by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 3.6% during 2020-2025. The growth of the global functional polymer sponge market is driven by rise in demand for lightweight material in aerospace and automotive industries. These foams help automobile manufacturers address issues pertaining to the weight, vibration, fuel efficiency, and durability of automobiles. Growing industrialization, production of automotive and packaging industries in emerging economies such as India and China are expected to boost demand for functional polymer sponge over the forecast period. Rising foreign direct investment is also expected to contribute to investments in these sectors. However, the high cost associated with functional polymer sponge hampers market growth.

Application – Segment Analysis

Automotive held the largest share in the functional polymer sponge market in 2019 and is growing at a CAGR 4.2%, owning to increasing use of polymer sponges in various automotive components, such as seats, dashboards, suspension bushings, crash pads, trim, sun visors, instrument panels, filters, and headliners, vibration dampening, and energy management. Rapid economic growth and increasing expenditure on luxury vehicles in emerging economies, such as China, India, South Korea, and Indonesia, are expected to boost the demand for functional polymer sponge in the automotive industry during the forecast period.

Geography – Segment Analysis

Asia Pacific region held the largest share in the global functional polymer sponge market in 2019 up to 30%, owing to growth in automotive and aircraft production in the region. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Asia is the fastest growing aerospace industry in the world. The passenger traffic is increasing on account of the rise in disposable income. The growth in passenger traffic is driving the construction of aircraft thereby driving the demand for functional polymer sponge over the forecast period. In 2016, according to Boeing, China is estimated to require around 6,810 new commercial aircraft, valued at USD 1 trillion, over the next two decades. In 2019, according to International Trade Administration (ITA), China is the world’s second largest civil aerospace and aviation services markets and one of the world’s fastest growing. By the end of 2018, China had more than 59 airlines (passenger & cargo) and 3,615 civil aircraft (an increase of 10% over 2017). According to China’s 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020), by 2020, China will have more than 4,500 civil aircraft, and by 2018, the number of Chinese civil airports had grown to 235. According to International Trade Administration (ITA), in 2018 the Indian government spent a total of $645 in the civil aviation sector. In addition, according to Boeing, India’s rapid aviation growth is expected to drive the demand for 2,300 aircrafts worth US$320 billion over the next 20 years. Furthermore, according to OICA, automotive production in countries such as India, Indonesia, and Malaysia has increased by 8%, 10.3% and 12.2% up to 5,174,645, 1,343,714 and 402,085 from 2017. Therefore, the growth in automotive and aircraft production in the region is driving functional synthetic polymers, as well as biodegradable polymers sponge market growth.

Drivers – Functional Polymer Sponge Market
Growing demand from automotive and aerospace industry.
The impetus on reducing aircraft weight coupled with rapid technological advancements is contribute to the increasing demand for these sponge from the aerospace industry. The fuselage, bulkheads, and wings of the aircraft are made with light-weight composites, which use polymer sponges as components. According to Boeing, over 4,000 new airliners are needed in the South East Asia region in the upcoming decades, owning to rise in passenger traffic, which is expected to grow at 6.2% annually. As a result, aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), such as Honeywell International Inc., Rockwell Collins, Embraer S.A. and others are establishing their manufacturing site in South East Asian countries, such as Singapore to meet the growing demand for airliner. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, there are more than 440,000 general aviation aircraft across the globe as of 2018. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), military expenditure in America is expected to increase from $683 billion in 2016 to $799 billion by 2022, while the military expenditure in Asia Pacific is expected to increase approximately from $456 billion in 2016 to $609 billion by 2022. Therefore, this will have a positive impact on the functional polymer sponges market. Furthermore, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, over 27 million vehicles were sold in 2018. In 2017, according to International Trade Administration (ITA), 1.2 million new passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in the Australian market. An increase of 0.9% from 2016. According to Chinese government the automobile output in the country is expected to reach 35 million by 2025. Therefore, the growth in automotive and aerospace industry is driving functional polymer sponge market growth.

Challenges – Functional Polymer Sponge Market
Fluctuating raw material prices.
Price and availability of raw materials are major factors that affect the price of the end products. The major challenge for the global functional polymer market is the oscillating price trends of raw materials, which are fluctuating due to volatile energy prices. According to BP statistics, in 2018, average oil price increased to $71/ bbl from $54/bbl in 2017. Therefore, the fluctuation in energy prices are affecting functional polymer sponge price which acts as a challenge.

Market Landscape

Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Functional Polymer Sponge Market. In 2019, the market of Functional Polymer Sponge Market has been consolidated by the top five players accounting for xx% of the share. Major players in the Functional Polymer Sponge market are Argus Ltd., Desmi A/S, Elastec, Elektronik Lab, Eriez, Faroe Maritime, Friess Gmbh, Parker, Qualitech Inc., Skimoil Inc., among others.

Key Takeaways
Asia-Pacific dominates the functional polymer sponge market, owing to the increasing demand of polymer sponge from the automotive industries. In automotive industry functional polymer sponges are used in seating, automotive trim, filters, acoustic application and packaging. According to OICA, the production of light commercial vehicles has increased by 10.2 % in 2018 in the APAC region.
Packaging is necessary for all kinds of materials for safety and insulation. The demand for packaging is increasing in the food industry. With the growing awareness about the safety, quality, and maintenance of a product’s physical properties, the use of polymer sponges in packaging industry is increasing.
However, operations in various industries such as automotive, and aerospace is being significantly affected due to the COVID-19 epidemic, as most of countries have issued “stay at home guidance” i.e., lockdown. And it is expected that the outbreak of COVID-19 will be seen in the whole year of 2020, and a few months in 2021. Therefore, this factor is limiting functional polymer sponge market growth.

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