The global TPE market size is estimated to USD 19.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 26.3 billion in terms of value by 2026, at a CAGR of 5.7% between 2021 and 2026. The recovery of automotive sector across the world is driving the thermoplastic elastomers market during the forecast period.
Thermoplastic elastomers are a class of polymers having properties of both thermoplastics and elastomers. They are obtained by linking thermoplastics with elastomeric rubbers. Thermoplastic elastomers provide advantages of both plastics and rubber, and hence the new form created by their combination is adaptable in many applications. The high impact and tear strength of thermoplastic elastomers have increased their demand in the automotive and building & construction industries.
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The automotive application accounted for 33% share of the overall TPE market in 2020, in terms of volume. According to the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), the global production of vehicles declined by 5.2% in 2019 compared to the previous year. The production further dipped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the market is expected to grow in the near future with the rise in the living standard of people and the development of new technologies. China is a significant market for automobiles. The country is focused on developing new energy vehicles (NEVs). NEVs include fuel cell electric vehicles (FCVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the total production of cars in 2020 increased by 9.6% year-on-year. NEVs will account for 25% of the sales by 2025. In the automotive industry, TPE is used in exterior filler for panels, wipers, rocker panels, body seals, automotive gaskets, door & window handles, other under-the-hood applications. In building & construction, TPE is mainly used as roofing membrane, bitumen modification, roofing membranes, weather-stripping, waterproofing, carpeting, wall coverings, window & weather seals.
The TPE market is studied for five regions, namely, North America, APAC, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and South America. APAC accounted for the largest share of the TPE market in 2020, followed by North America and Europe. The increased demand for TPE in APAC is due to the presence of significant number of automotive manufacturers in the region. The market in this region is driven by the recovery of the automotive sector in China, India, and Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, the development of electric and hybrid vehicles will provide a new revenue opportunity for TPE manufacturers.
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The supply chain of the TPE market was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and declining oil prices, the production TPE declined. The production plants were operating at low utilization rate (%). The decline in demand from end-use industries further impacted TPE production. Other segments such as building & construction, footwear, wire & cable, medical, and engineering sector also showed a similar decline due to COVID-19.