Latest Market Research: Silicone is Innovative and Universally Applicable
For the third time, Ceresana has investigated the global silicone market. The market researchers are forecasting an average annual growth of 3.9 percent through 2025. The largest silicone producer and consumer is the Asia-Pacific region.
They are flexible without the need of plasticisers, heat resistant and cold resistant, skin friendly, water repellent and yet still permeable to water vapour: Silicones have properties that no other plastic can match. In many industries, these innovative materials are used for a wide variety of products. "The most important types of silicones are silicone elastomers, silicone oils, and silicone resins," explains Oliver Kutsch, CEO of the market research institute Ceresana. "Application areas are construction, automotive, electrical and electronics, medical technology, cosmetics, textiles, and paper." Global revenues amounted to over USD 16.3 billion in 2017. In their latest market research, Ceresana offers the prognosis that the silicone market will grow further by 3.9% p.a. until 2025.
Diverse silicone applications
According to Ceresana, a decisive advantage for manufacturers of silicones is the diversity of their customers: The demand is said to be distributed evenly among several large sectors. In the construction industry, for example, silicones are mainly used as sealants, adhesives, and in coatings. The electronic industry applies silicones mainly to protect electronic components from extreme heat, moisture, salt, corrosion, and contamination. Computers, telephones, and LED lights, among other things, contain silicones and the application areas are being gradually expanded. Silicone demand in the automotive sector will presumably register similarly high growth rates in the upcoming eight years as in the electrical and electronics industry. The reasons for this are innovative projects such as hybrid and electric vehicles or autonomous driving. In 2017, however, the construction industry was still the sector with the highest silicone consumption.
Different types of silicones
A large part of the global production and revenues of silicones is accounted for by silicone elastomers, which are used in seals, electrical insulations or baking tins, for example. A distinction is made between solid and liquid silicone rubber. In regard to silicone elastomers, the highest revenues are generated in the Asia-Pacific region. In Western Europe and North America, revenues generated with elastomers are slightly higher than revenues generated with silicone oils. Silicone resins that are used for paints and varnishes, for example, have so far been accounting for a much smaller market share in all regions, but are likely to develop at sound growth rates in the future.
Trends in the silicones industry
The Asia-Pacific region is, by far, the major producer of silicones worldwide. Ceresana expects the production in this region to continue to grow. Western Europe accounts for the second highest production figures, followed by North America. Asia-Pacific, China in particular, is also the largest consumer of silicones. The gap to the second and third largest sales markets, Western Europe and North America, is likely to continue to widen in the future. Yet, established industrialized countries report a higher market value compared to silicone demand, as China tends to produce and consume cheaper products instead of high-end speciality silicones.