The liquid synthetic rubber market is valued at 13,500 USD million in 2020 and is projected to register a CAGR of over 4.5% during the forecast period (2021-2026).
The market was negatively impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. Considering the pandemic scenario, the automotive manufacturing activities were temporarily stopped during the government-imposed lockdown to curb the spread of new COVID-19 cases, thereby reducing the demand for liquid synthetic rubber-based automotive parts such as tires, drive belts, seals, gaskets, hoses, tank linings, and others. For instance, according to the OICA, global passenger car production was reduced by 16.9% in 2020 compared to the previous year, majorly due to the negative impact of the pandemic. Furthermore, the demand for liquid synthetic rubber has been decreased during the lockdown from construction and different industrial sector, owing to the decreased demand and halted construction and other industrial activities, where liquid synthetic rubber is used in the production of adhesives, sealants, coatings, hoses, and others.
Key Highlights Over the short term, the rising demand from the adhesive segment is expected to drive the market’s growth.
On the flip side, the declining automotive industry and unfavorable conditions arising due to the COVID-19 outbreak are expected to hinder the market’s growth.
The Asia-Pacific region dominated the liquid synthetic rubber market across the world, with the largest consumption from countries such as China, India, and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand from the Tires Segment
Synthetic rubber is the artificial elastomer, which is produced from byproducts of petroleum. Liquid synthetic rubber is liquid polyurethane that generally forms compounds that have high flow properties and abrasion properties.
Liquid synthetic rubber, such as liquid butadiene rubber, has superior properties, like abrasion resistance, cut growth resistance, high resilience with low heat buildup, and low-temperature flexibility. Owing to these properties, liquid synthetic rubbers are widely used in manufacturing tires.
The increasing use of liquid polybutadiene rubber and liquid styrene-butadiene rubber for manufacturing tires and its components, such as treads, rims/apex/flange, and carcass, increases the demand for liquid synthetic rubber and thus, propelling its market.
Additionally, liquid synthetic rubber provides enhanced durability and superior performance of tires, along with the adoption of tire labeling regulations. Due to this, the demand for liquid synthetic rubber is expected to rise for tire manufacturing, which would stimulate its market.
For instance, according to OICA, around 77.62 million vehicles were produced globally in 2020 compared to 92.18 million vehicles produced in 2019, witnessing a decreasing growth rate of about 15.8%, which reduced the demand for tires.
According to the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), the total US tire shipments was accounted for about 303.2 million units in 2020, with a decline rate of about 9% from 332.7 million units in 2019. Furthermore, the association forecasted that the total United States tire shipments would reach 315.7 million units in 2021, thereby is expected to drive the demand for the market studied.
Additionally, the demand from car tire makers, such as Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, has dwindled, as car manufacturing slumped due to the pandemic, and the company suspended operations at some plants in late April and early May 2020. The company stopped production at its tire plants in Bethune, France, and Bari, Italy, and reduced work at sites in Belgium, Hungary, Poland, and Spain in April 2020. Factories in Bilbao, Puente San Miguel, and Burgos in Spain; Stargard and Poznan in Poland; and Tatabanya in Hungary continued operation at reduced capacity. The plants that were initially closed resumed production, however, mostly in limited capacities.
Overall, all the aforementioned factors have impacted tire production, which is further expected to affect the liquid synthetic rubber market.
Asia-Pacific Region to Dominate the Market
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to dominate the market for liquid synthetic rubber during the forecast period. In countries like China, India, and Japan, owing to the increasing demand from applications such as tire manufacturing, industrial rubber manufacturing, adhesives and sealants, coatings, and polymer modification, and also due to availability of raw materials and rapid development of the manufacturing sector, the demand for liquid synthetic rubber has been increasing in the region.
China is the largest producer and consumer of automotive vehicles. According to OICA, around 25.23 million vehicles were produced in China during 2020 compared to 25.75 million vehicles that were produced in 2019, witnessing a decrease in the growth rate of about 2%.
According to the Automotive Tire Manufacturers Association (ATMA) of India, the total volume of tires produced in India was about 191.98 million units in 2019, with a growth rate of about 7.5% compared to the previous year.
Furthermore, liquid synthetic rubber also finds its application in the construction industry. In 2020, the Chinese construction industry was valued at about USD 1,049.2 billion, and it is estimated to reach about USD 1,117.4 billion by 2021, with a growth rate of about 6.5%, thereby is expected to stimulate the demand for liquid synthetic rubber such as liquid styrene-butadiene rubber, which is used in the formulation of adhesives for cement bond coat, mortars, and concrete, and also can be used in sealants and coatings production.
Some of the major companies operating in the Asia-Pacific region are Synthomer PLC, LINSHI CHEM (PUYANG) ADVANCED MATERIAL CO. LTD, and H.B. Fuller Company.
Therefore, the aforementioned factors are expected to show a significant impact on the market in the coming years.
The global liquid synthetic rubber market is fragmented with nature, with a presence of a wide range of players across the global market. Still, some of the players that maintain a significant share in the global market include China National Petroleum Corporation, JSR Corporation, Evonik Industries, Kumho Petrochemical, and Asahi Kasei, among others.
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