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The global styrenic block copolymer (SBC) market size was USD 7,163.6 million in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with styrenic block copolymer (SBC) witnessing a slight drop in the demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of -2.66% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 7,514.1 million in 2021 to USD 10,010.5 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 4.2% during the 2021-2028 period. The sudden decline in CAGR is attributable to this decline in manufacturing sector, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
SBC is based on copolymers with two-phase blocks of hard and soft parts. The thermoplastic properties are supplied by the styrene end blocks, and the elastomeric properties are given by the Butadiene mid-blocks. The market is expected to be driven by the growing demand for medical components such as tubing, bags, and IV drip chambers because of the increasing COVID-19 cases around the world. The growing demand for various applications, such as adhesives & sealants, footwear, paving & roofing, polymer modification, and medical devices, is also projected to fuel the market. Improving the fit and comfort of baby diapers due to elastomeric materials are key features to support the demand for styrenic block copolymer.
COVID-19 Pandemic: Decrease in Construction Spending May Hamper Production
The effect of the pandemic on SBCs can differ across industries, such as construction, automotive, medical, and hygiene. Sectors such as medical, hygiene products, and food packaging are expected to expand at a rapid pace during the pandemic, which is likely to boost the market. The construction industry is likely to be negatively affected by the widespread shutdowns in order to minimize the COVID-19 spread. Projects that are allowed to go on would be affected indirectly. Construction supplies are shipped from countries combating COVID-19, many of which have shut down factories in order to combat the pandemic.
Many countries, such as China and Italy, have slowed or closed down their industrial sectors, leading to a dramatic decline in the manufacturing of a wide variety of products, from steel to cement. Contractors dependent on Chinese-made products and materials are expected to face higher costs and delayed execution of projects due to shortages of building materials. In exchange, this means higher costs and more postponed programs. Restricted public transit and travel prohibitions would bog down the execution of projects as subcontractors are unable to operate or supply the material needed.
Although the work is stalled, leasing firms with equipment are beginning to face issues with equipment abandoned at inoperable sites. An indicator of the current and planned construction market conditions for construction professionals, the RICS’ Global Construction Activity Index read -24 in Q2, thereby reflecting both the effect on activity and a subdued outlook. While this metric was pessimistic across continents, in the Middle East and Africa, it was the lowest (-40), and in America, it was the highest (-14).
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Continuous Growth of Automotive Industry is a Prominent Trend
The global automotive industry will see double-digit growth in 2021, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit Limited. Sales of new cars will increase by 15 percent in 2021, and sales of commercial vehicles will grow by 16 percent in the same year. Sales of electric cars will rise from 2.5 million in 2020 to 3.4 million in 2021. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are used in a wide variety of applications in different industries, following industry-specific requirements. They are not only used in vehicle interiors for control components but also for external window encapsulations and under-the-hood seals.
In the automotive industry, accelerated transition means new growth prospects for TPEs. Any new concept modification or vehicle model at the simplest level opens up the possibility for TPEs in long-standing applications to replace thermoset rubber and flexible plastics. But, developments that are currently underway often exceed what has been a long-standing tradition in the production of cars, hence generating high demand for new types of parts, new roles of engines, and new design ideas. TPEs' simplicity and flexibility of design make them ideal candidates to fulfill this requirement.
The growth in the use of SBC TPEs has been one of the most interesting advances in automotive. TPEs, both as alternatives in applications where thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) may be deemed 'over-engineered with regard to performance specifications. To improve performance specifications, SBCs have a specific advantage. They are used in a wide variety of applications, from automotive to everyday goods and consumer electronics, due to the strong balance between moldability, durability, and mechanical efficiency.
Increasing Infrastructure Spending across the Globe to Aid Growth
The growing demand for road & highway maintenance and increasing infrastructure around the globe is likely to provide ample opportunities for the asphalt paving industry. Increasing road traffic would need constant development and road-building in both rural and urban areas, which is anticipated to drive the growth rate of the asphalt paving industry. Developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil are spending huge sums in developing their countries' paved road networks, which, in turn, is projected to boost the asphalt paving industry. India's recent emphasis on road connectivity under schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Bharatmala Pariyojana is an ideal example. The government is also planning to spend USD 9259.26 million on the development of a 4,500 km long road network in 2020, under the Union Budget of 2019-2020.
In addition, developing countries are now investing huge amounts in the rehabilitation and development of new roads in remote and rural areas to widen their paved road networks. For example, since their accession to the European Union, Bulgaria and Poland have seen a substantial rise in spending on road investment programs co-financed in these countries by the EU cohesion and structural funds. Further, increasing housing starts and rising infrastructure are the key reasons for the growth of the construction industry due to the surging urbanization and the growing population.
The products are the most common elastomeric polymers used for asphalt alteration. In modified bituminous roofing materials, they are used to provide key features, including durability over a wide range of temperatures, long-term performance, resistance to thermal degradation, excellent waterproofing properties, ease of application, and improved aesthetics. Polymer Modified Bitumens (PMBs) are predominantly used in SBS applications for pavement and roofing membranes.
In the roofing industry, innovations are inspired to balance the reduced prices and safe solutions. The need for constant innovations is further added by changing building codes, aesthetic and architectural standards. SBC sealants for structural applications have a high degree of coherent strength and elongation. Depending on the composition and substrate, however, the peel intensity values may vary. They have outstanding peel adhesion to the wood used in the building & construction industry. SBC adhesives and sealants are increasingly used in building projects for wall panel adhesion and plywood subflooring. They are low-cost items and can be used in interior applications where there is no problem with UV exposure.
Rising Medical & FDA Standards Requiring High Purity Products to Drive the Market
Regulatory bodies, market drivers, and cost demands have continued to create a material preference controversy between polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), and rubber products over the past decades. In the U.S. and other regions, many companies are seeking to proactively navigate emerging regulatory trends. Supportive regulatory enforcement with PVC dependence reduction and clearance for the use of SBC by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and FDA are some of the beneficial factors driving the styrenic block copolymer market growth. Healthcare systems that are now introducing strategies for phthalate-free patient populations are applying pressure. In applications where phthalate- or plasticizer-free materials are desired, TPEs are regarded as a substitute for PVC.
Globally, IV therapy manufacturers are among the first to switch from PVC to TPE products in the medical device industry. Thermoset rubbers used in elastomeric surgical applications such as stoppers, septum, and syringe plungers are now substituted by TPEs. Improved manufacturing, cost-efficacy, and low extractable properties are the drivers for rubber substitution. The products are the main group of thermoplastic elastomers in length. While possessing the physical and mechanical properties of filled vulcanized elastomers, SBCs are distinguished by their ability to be treated as thermoplastic materials. They also exhibit excellent elastic properties, show lower elastic recovery than regular rubbers, and demonstrate good flexibility at lower temperatures.
Initially, the use of plastics in the medical industry was a substitute choice for metallic products, as plastics provided greater longevity and lower processing costs. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was the plastic most widely used in the medical industry and soon became a highly popular choice. However, due to increasing environmental issues about the method of its processing and disposal of products and objects produced with PVC, it has faced resistance. Therefore, in the medical industry, styrene polymers are more preferred. Styrene polymer products not only possess superior properties similar to PVC, but they are also much easier to recycle.
Fluctuation in Butadiene Price May Hamper the Market Growth
The price of oil has become highly unpredictable. It has affected the prices of thermoplastic elastomers. The volatility in the price of oil has caused fluctuation in the prices of the butadiene, which is the major raw material for the manufacturing of the product. Thus, it would result in strong volatility in the SBC price. The fluctuation in the price of crude oil, however, has a direct influence on the price of SBC. As major raw materials such as benzene, ethylene, and propylene are typically extracted from crude oil derivatives, the pricing of the finished product is greatly influenced by any changes in crude oil prices.
Styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) Segment to Generate High Revenue Due to Growth of the Building Industry
Based on the product, the market is segmented into styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS), styrene-isoprene butadiene block copolymer (SIBS), and hydrogenated styrenic block copolymers (HSBC). The styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) segment held the major share of the market in 2020 and is likely to maintain this trend during the forecast period. This rise can be due to the growing demand from the construction, adhesives & sealants, and polymer footwear industries. For paving and roofing applications, SBS is used in the building industry. In modified bituminous roofing materials, SBS is used to give different characteristics, including outstanding waterproofing properties, thermal deterioration tolerance stability over a wide range of temperatures, long-term performance, and improved aesthetics.
SIS copolymers are commonly used in road paving and roofing applications for hot-melt adhesives, sealants, rubber bands, gasket materials, shoe soles, toy products, and bitumen products for road paving and roofing. They are also used in plastics and (structural) adhesives as damage regulators and toughness.
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Paving & Roofing Segment to Hold a Significant Share Due to Expansion of the Construction Industry
By applications, the market is segmented into paving & roofing, footwear, advanced materials, adhesives, sealants & coatings, and others. The paving & roofing segment constituted the primary market share. The growing construction industry across the globe is expected to drive the segment. With the development in the manufacturing and infrastructural sectors in the fast-paced economies worldwide, heavy spending on road maintenance and transport projects has been incurred, thereby generating worldwide demand for asphalt pavers. The product is often used as a bitumen modifier in asphalt applied to roads.
Other major applications of the products include the use of adhesives & sealants, advanced materials, and others (including medical uses). As a result of the use of grooming products, the adoption of adhesives has grown. For example, SIS is used in diapers for the young and elderly and feminine hygiene products. In addition, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for medical products is witnessing a surge.
Asia Pacific Styrenic Block Copolymer Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)
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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 3,128.2 million in 2020. The region dominated the market due to exponential population growth in countries such as China and India. The strong demand for affordable housing and government systems that support basic services such as food and shelter are both significant factors expected to drive the construction industry in the region. In addition to that, stringent legislation and the increasing consumer awareness of carbon emissions would encourage the construction of green buildings, a significant end-user of renewable and lightweight products such as SBCs.
Factors such as the stabilization of the overall economy and the expansion of end-use industries such as automotive, footwear, and infrastructure in Europe are projected to drive the demand for the product in the region during the forecast period. The main producers and users of these block copolymers include countries such as Germany, Italy, France, Russia, and the United States.
The rising demand for the product from paving & roofing applications and the solid expansion of infrastructures in Canada is projected to drive the market in North America. Approval by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and the U.S. FDA is projected to boost the use of block copolymers in the medical industry to minimize reliance on PVC.
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Big investment opportunities in the building & construction industry in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are likely to drive the SBC market in the region. In terms of the asphalt pavers industry, the Middle East & Africa and Latin America are expected to showcase steady growth during the forecast period. The growth is owed to several initiatives taken by the government to increase the infrastructural quality and increase investments from the public and private sectors for infrastructural development. Thus, the growing asphalt pavers industry in the region is likely to boost the market.
Key Companies to Conduct Research and Development Activities to Strengthen Their Presence
With a few players capturing a significant share, the global market is concentrated in nature. BASF SE, TSRC, Eastman Chemical Company, Versalis S.p.A., Kraton Corporation, and China Petrochemical Group Co., Ltd. are some of the market's key players. In order to sustain product quality and extend geographical presence, major players operating in the market have consolidated their raw material processing and distribution activities. This offers a strategic edge for them in the form of cost advantages, thereby increasing the profit margin.
In order to create new block copolymers with improved properties to maintain the market competition and alter end-user criteria, companies are conducting research and development activities. Anionic polymerization and strong melt flow polymerization are some of the predominant developments. Anionic polymerization is gaining popularity because, in the presence of a non-polar hydrocarbon solvent, it takes place in batches, making the process simpler and quicker.
An Infographic Representation of Styrenic Block Copolymer (SBC) Market
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The styrenic block copolymer (SBC) market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, products, and products. Also, it offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the market's growth in recent years. This report includes historical data & forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels, and analyzes the industry's latest market dynamics and opportunities.
Value (USD Million) and Volume (Tons)
Product; Application; and By Region
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 7,163.6 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 10,010.5 million by 2028.
In 2020, the Asia Pacific market size stood at USD 3,128.2 million.
Registering a CAGR of 4.2%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).
The paving & roofing segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.
The increasing infrastructure spending across the globe is the key factor driving the market.
BASF SE, TSRC, Eastman Chemical Company, Versalis S.p.A., Kraton Corporation, and China Petrochemical Group Co., Ltd. are the major players in the global market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.
The continuous growth of the automotive industry is expected to drive the adoption of these products.
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