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Global structural foam market will exhibit an upward growth trend during 2021-2027. This is primarily due to the expansion of automotive and building & construction sectors worldwide. The rapid growth in urban population and improving living standards have created a massive demand for new infrastructure. These factors are also fueling the trend of vehicle ownership worldwide. The structural foam industry growth is also driven by the excessive product usage in material handling equipment used for short-distance transportation of goods as well as in numerous packaging applications. The ongoing R&D efforts by manufactures and the introduction of new, innovative solutions will fuel the expansion of the industry.
Structural foam is an advanced composite material manufactured by combining a foamed core with a solid outer skin. It is highly flexible, lightweight and maintains exceptional strength and stiffness compared to conventional polymers. The ability of the material to produce parts of unprecedented quality has augmented its application in the production of vehicle roofs, interior and exterior body panels, construction structures, and housing for consumer electronics products.
By application, the structural foam market is anticipated to witness growing demand across electrical and electronics applications through 2027. The material is widely used as a substrate in numerous electronics products. The uptick in the household income levels of consumers and the increasing adoption of different handheld gadgets will positively influence the product demand. In addition, the growing integration of electronics components and systems in the automotive sector will support the growth of the market.
In terms of the regional analysis, North America is expected to be a lucrative revenue terrain for the structural foam industry in the forthcoming years. The regional demand is primarily driven by the fast-growing automotive sector. The trend of personal mobility has gained considerable momentum over the years, leading to rapid adoption of passenger vehicles. Consequently, the regional automakers are focusing on ramping up the production of vehicles, including electric and self-driving variants. These factors combined with the increasing number of infrastructure renovation and refurbishment projects will propel the market forward.
The Dow Chemical Company, SABIC, One Plastic Group, Evonik Industries, Diab International AB, Polycel Structural Foam, Inc., PSI Molded Plastics, and Armacell International S.A. are among the top players in the structural foam industry. The companies are relying on numerous strategic approaches to gain a stronger foot hold in the market. Some of these strategies include mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations. Citing an instance, in June 2021, Diab International AB had completed purchase of SABIC’s ULTEM range of foam production line. Manufacturers are also expected to ramp up their production capacities to meet the increasing demand across automotive, construction, and other sectors.
COVID-19 influence on structural foam industry forecast
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has had significant impact on structural foam demand. This is due to the reduced automotive and electronics production and the halt of major construction projects. In addition, manufacturers have encountered numerous challenges throughout the pandemic including workforce shortages, supply chain uncertainty, the global economic crisis. However, as the COVID-19 situation improves and industrial activities go back to normal, the structural foam market will witness a positive growth trend during 2021-2027.