The European expanded polystyrene market is expected to record a CAGR of over 3%, during the forecast period. One of the major factors driving the market studied is the advantage over competitive materials.
- Strict governmental regulations is expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- Recycling in the expanded polystyrene industry is likely to act as an opportunity, during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Grey and Silver EPS to Dominate the Market
- Manufacturers have created a highly competitive market for EPS, by modifying the regular grade EPS. The addition of flame retardants, graphite, and other additives have introduced the segment of 'modified' EPS.
- Grey EPS is one such innovation wherein the addition of graphite has increased its refractive and reflective properties, to provide better thermal insulation. The graphite works on a very small scale to increase the refraction of IR light, and make the path for the escaping heat less direct. It has a unique color (gray to black), good mechanical properties, high water resistance, and increased fire resistance.
- This allows for the usage of the same equipment used to process conventional EPS. Due to its unique properties, it allows for a reduction in thermal conductivity by 20%, and thus, reduces the board thickness by 20%, while still maintaining the same properties.
- It is used for the insulation of external walls, roof systems, foundations, floors, thermo-acoustic insulation, manufacture of insulated and left-in-place formwork, and lightweight building blocks.
- The use of grey EPS significantly improves the insulation of both, old and new buildings, and helps meet the criteria for reducing power costs. It has the same density as white EPS. However, it isolates 20% better, which has made it particularly attractive in Europe, where people are becoming more inclined toward housing renovation and lower maintenance costs.
- Although the price for grey EPS is higher than white EPS, the increasing demand from the construction industry is expected to lower its price in the near future.
- Therefore, the aforementioned factors may result in an increase in demand for the EPS market in the region, during the forecast period.
Germany to Dominate the Market
- Germany witnessed an increase in the new residential building permits, and this growth trend is expected to continue, owing to the rising demand for real estate, increasing population, increased job security, and low borrowing costs. Hence, due to the booming housing market and real estate demand, the construction and building industry is expected to grow rapidly, which is further expected to increase the consumption of EPS during the forecast period.
- The housing market is facing a strong demand fuelled by rising incomes, low-interest rates, and high levels of net migration. It is estimated that 3.6 million migrants may make it to Germany, by 2020. There is housing demand for at least 350,000 new dwellings per year.
- Low-interest rates, coupled with rising incomes, have contributed to increased property prices, particularly in big cities, making it more difficult for middle-class households to afford housing. To alleviate some of the pressure in the housing market, the government introduced the Housing Construction Campaign, a comprehensive package of measures aimed at tackling housing shortages and rising house prices.
- The electrical and electronics industry is one of the major end users of EPS packaging. This is followed by food packaging, and packaging of cosmetics and medicines.
- The packaging market in the country remains stable. Plastic packaging solutions are being increasingly used for innovative and customized products.
- These segments are growing moderately in the country, and may contribute to the growth of EPS in the country, during the forecast period.
The European expanded polystyrene market is consolidated in nature. The major companies include BASF SE, Synthos S.A., Versalis SpA, SUNPOR, and StyroChem, among others.
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