Worldwide demand for industrial rubber products is projected to rise a healthy 6.6 percent annually to $158 billion in 2018. Sales will be boosted by an acceleration in fixed investment expenditures and expanding durable goods output. Also contributing to value gains will be a shift in the product mix toward more expensive, better performing items. However, competition from alternative materials (primarily plastics) in some applications will limit the overall pace of market growth through 2018, as will the use of improved designs and higher quality rubber materials, which will reduce aftermarket component needs.
Mechanical goods (including vehicular body seals, vibration control products, and wiper blades, among other items) will account for roughly half of all industrial rubber goods sales in 2018. Suppliers will benefit from increased output of motor vehicles, a pickup in machinery production, and growth in equipment and vehicular stocks as investment spending climbs. However, rubber hose, the second largest product segment, will post faster advances, due in part to rising demand for higher priced, better quality items.
Industrial equipment (including off-road machinery) represents the largest market for industrial rubber goods, accounting for over half of the 2013 sales total. Motor vehicles are the second largest market, responsible for one-third of all product demand, with construction, aerospace equipment, and other applications accounting for the remainder.
China will post the strongest gains of any national market in value terms. In fact, almost half of all additional product demand through 2018 will be accounted for by China. Market advances in the country will be stimulated by robust economic growth, ongoing increases in business investment spending, strong gains in manufacturing output, and healthy levels of motor vehicle production and sales. India, a considerably smaller but still large industrial rubber goods market, will also record large, double-digit annual percentage increases. A number of smaller national markets -- including Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, and Brazil -- are expected to register healthy sales advances as well.
Global industrial rubber product demand is projected to climb at more moderate rates in the US and Western Europe, supported by renewed strength in gross fixed investment and growth in durable goods output. Product sales in Japan will rebound from recent declines, but market advances will be well below the world average, limited by generally sluggish increases in durable goods activity and further decreases in motor vehicle output. Demand growth in Eastern Europe will be stronger than during the 2008-2013 period but not as robust as increases in other developing areas because investment expenditures and durable goods production will not rise as rapidly, due in part to subpar economic gains in neighboring Western Europe, which represents a major export market for many East European manufacturers.
Details on these and other key findings are contained in World Industrial Rubber Products, a Freedonia study which presents historical demand data (2003, 2008 and 2013) plus forecasts for 2018 and 2023 by market, product, region, and for 27 countries. The study also considers market environment factors, examines the industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 41 industry competitors worldwide.