US demand for silicone is forecast to climb 4.7 percent annually to $4.3 billion in 2018, with volume rising 3.2 percent per year to 900 million pounds, according to a report by reportbuyer.com
This will be an acceleration from the performance of the 2008-2013 period, spurred by improving economic conditions, rising manufactured goods output, and a strong rebound in construction activity.
While technological developments and product innovation will promote advances, opportunities will be limited by market maturity and the increasing tendency to regard silicone as commodities. That will restrict suppliers’ ability to raise prices, thus restraining overall value gains.
Silicone elastomers to pass fluids as leading type
Fluids and elastomers represent the two leading silicone product types, together accounting for more than 85 percent of total market value in 2013.
Elastomers – elastic polymers – are projected to achieve the most rapid gains, overtaking fluids as the leading product type by 2018.
Growth will be propelled by their widespread use in the rebounding construction sector, along with expanding opportunities in the medical field.
Demand will benefit from the increasing utilization of liquid silicone rubber in electronics, machinery, and medical.
Opportunities for silicone gels will stem from their use as protective encapsulants in high growth applications such as solar cells and light emitting diodes (LEDs). Moreover, silicone gels are widely used as the basis for breast implant products and will continue to gained share at the expense of their saline-filled counterparts.
Construction, medical markets to be fastest growing
Industrial sector represents the leading outlet for silicones. Within this segment, the motor vehicle market will continue to offer strong opportunities for growth through 2018, despite a notable deceleration from the rapid gains achieved between 2008 and 2013, when domestic vehicle production rates rebounded from low levels.
Advances will be promoted by automaker efforts to improve vehicle safety and fuel efficiency, as well as consumer preferences for quieter cabins.
The construction market is forecast to achieve the most rapid gains, expanding at a near double digit annual pace.
The nation’s aging population will continue to provide outsized gains for the medical market. However, moderate growth is projected for consumer outlets, constrained by maturity in the cosmetic and toiletry and motor vehicle polish markets