Home > Reports > Foam Plastics Market Analysis, Share to [2022-2030]

Foam Plastics Market

Foam Plastics Market: Information by Type (Polyurethane, Polystyrene, Polyolefin, Phenolic), Application (Packaging, Automotive, Footwear, Sports), and Region — Forecast till 2030

Published At : 30 Aug, 2022
Updated At : 01 Sep, 2022
Table of Content Download Sample

Market Snapshot
Base Year:
2021
Study Period:
2020-2030
CAGR:
3.6 %
Fastest Growing Market:
Europe
Largest Market:
Asia Pacific

The global foam plastics market size was valued at USD 102.10 billion in 2021, expected to reach USD 135.50 billion while growing at a CAGR of 3.6% during the forecast period. Foamed plastic is a type of polymer that has been foamed with air bubbles. The sponge-like structure of the hardened plastic can be adjusted for softness or rigidity. The properties of foamed plastic are significantly more diverse than those of standard plastic. Foam plastics, also called cellular polymers or expanded plastics, can be made from virtually any type of polymer. Foams with a closed-cell structure can be produced by adding a blowing agent that breaks down at the melting point of the plastic, thereby releasing gas bubbles trapped during the gelling process. Foams with an open-cell structure are created under pressure by incorporating an inert gas into the resin, releasing the mixture into the atmosphere, and curing the resulting foam.

Foam plastics are commonly used in the building and construction industry for various applications, including forging, doors, roof boards, and slabs. In addition, new infrastructure growth, significant investments in new housing projects, and renovation of non-residential buildings are expected to propel the global foam plastics market share during the forecast period in both developed and developing economies. Low-cost foam plastic materials offer exceptional benefits, including a low coefficient of heat conduction, low density, low water absorption, relatively good mechanical strength, and excellent insulating properties. Consequently, this product is also in high demand in the automotive and building & construction industries. These factors are anticipated to drive the global foam plastics market soon.

Get more information on this report Download Sample Report

Market Dynamics

Global Foam Plastics Market Drivers

The Growing Demand for Polyurethane Foam in Building Insulation

There are applications for polyurethane foam in the building & construction, telecommunications, and automotive industries. In the automotive sector, flexible polyurethane foam is frequently utilized to cushion. It is one of the most effective insulating materials on the market, making it ideal for use in the electronic industry, particularly in refrigerators and freezers. Since polyurethane foam is used as rigid insulation, coatings, sealants, and adhesives, the construction industry is the primary consumer of this material. Polyurethane foams are highly flexible materials that reduce total infrastructure costs by minimizing building energy consumption. In the construction and manufacturing industries, foam is utilized for sealing and thermal insulation. It is an ideal thermal and acoustic insulator due to its flexibility and non-fibrous characteristics. In addition, foam is progressively used in domestic housing in cold countries with significant temperature differences between indoors and outdoors, as it helps retain heat during cold spells. This type of foam helps to reduce noise in buildings. Thus, these factors contribute to the expansion of the global market for foam plastics.

PU foams, also known as polyurethane foam, are frequently used in manufacturing mattresses and other furniture pieces because they can be molded into any shape and provide comfort and support. Polyurethane foam is manufactured using techniques such as coring and contouring foam, so the finished product offers a more supportive sleeping surface than other types of foam. An uptick will drive the industry's revenue growth in consumer interest in high-end and designer furniture. There have been many developments in chemistry that have led to the production of new polyurethane foams. These foams will self-adjust to the shape of each person's body and provide an extremely high level of comfort. Consequently, driving growth in the market for foam plastics.

Global Foam Plastics Market Restraints

Strict Regulations on the Use of Flexible Polyurethane Foam

The implementation of stringent environmental regulations and the danger to health associated with the use of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) as raw materials in the production of polyurethane foams are the significant constraints that hinder the foam plastics market growth. According to the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Agency, the effects of TDI and MDI on a consumer's health depend on the frequency of exposure and the length of time they are exposed. Some people who are exposed to TDI and MDI have shown symptoms of asthma and asthmatic conditions, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. During the forecast period, it is anticipated that these health risks will act as a barrier to expanding the foam plastics market.

Global Foam Plastics Market Opportunities

The Manufacture of Bio-based Polyols

The production of polyurethane foam requires the utilization of polyols. The polyurethane foam industry has been on a never-ending mission to become more sustainable in response to growing concerns about the industry's reliance on fossil fuels and the negative impact that plastics have on the environment. In addition, participants in the market have a tremendous opportunity to manufacture bio-based polyols that can be employed in manufacturing polyurethane foams and other applications. Polyols are a sustainable option that also offers increased efficiency. They are excellent raw materials that can be used in producing a wide variety of finished goods and applications, such as foam plastics, rigid foam, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers.

Segmental Analysis

The global foam plastics market is classified based on type, application, and region.

By Type Analysis

Segmentation based on type includes polyurethane, polystyrene, polyolefin, phenolic, and others.

The polyurethane-type foam plastics are expected to hold the most significant market proportion and grow at a CAGR of 3.1% during the forecast period. Polyurethane foams are the most widely used type of polymer foam, accounting for more than 50% of plastic foam consumption globally. The qualities of urethane foam are adaptable across a broad spectrum for various applications. They may be thermosetting, tight and heavy, thermoplastic, or flexible and soft. Polyurethane foam is deployed in several industries, including furniture and bedding production, insulation, and automotive. Hence, because of its versatile chemical properties and low cost, polyurethane foams have many applications. 

Cushioning products for furniture, bedding, and carpet backing are some of the most common applications for open-cell urethane foam. Many lightweight (structural) materials, including automobile bumpers, dashboards, and furniture, employ rigid urethane foams. The demand for foamed urethane is expected to increase steadily as the demand for foamed plastics increases. The most important factors driving the market are the rise in population in developing nations, the introduction of bio-based polyurethane foams, and building renovations and improvements funded by the government that focuses on increasing energy efficiency.

The polystyrene-type foam plastics will hold the second-largest share. Polystyrene foam, also referred to as Styrofoam, is the second most significant plastic foam material. It contributes to around 28% of global plastic foam consumption. Typically, one foamed styrene is composed of expandable polystyrene (EPS) and is produced as free-flowing pellets or beads impregnated with a low-boiling-point aliphatic hydrocarbon blowing agent, such as pentane or hexane. Polystyrene foam is most commonly utilized as a thermal insulation material in the building and construction industry and the packaging industry. Essential items include insulation boards, drinking cups, egg cartons, and other food containers. 

Because of its unique properties, extended polystyrene for packaging is likely to become increasingly popular across the globe as a result of the growing demand for the packaging of electronic goods and electrical appliances. Due to its lightweight and effective insulating properties, extended polystyrene for packaging is predominantly employed in the building and construction industry. By melting and solidifying, expanded polystyrene for packaging is created. More expanded polystyrene is required for packaging in the form of thermocol slabs composed of expanded polystyrene beads.

By Application Analysis

Segmentation based on application includes building & construction, packaging, automotive, furniture & bedding, footwear, sports & recreational, and others. 

The building & construction segment is projected to advance at a CAGR of 3.3% and have the largest revenue share throughout the forecast period. Foam is utilized in the building and construction industry for sealing and thermal insulation due to its lightweight and durable qualities. It is an ideal thermal and acoustic insulator due to its flexibility and lack of fibrous characteristics. A wide range of rigid polyurethane foam densities can be manufactured, making it a good choice for use in the walls and roofs of homes. It is commonly used in cold countries, which experience frequent shifts in temperature, and it assists in maintaining warmth during periods of extreme cold. This foam helps reduce noise levels within buildings by isolating sound in original rooms. Due to its closed-cell structure, high crosslink density, and superior insulation properties, rigid polyurethane foam is a component that is widely used in the building and construction industry.

The automotive segment will hold the second-largest share. The solid and gas phases are combined to form plastic foam in automotive foams. They are available in various foam forms based on raw materials, primarily polyurethane, olefins, and polystyrene, and are manufactured as feedstock using crude oil. In emerging nations like China, India, and Brazil, where the economy is expanding, and consumer spending on commercial and luxury vehicles is rising, the automotive industry is experiencing the most significant expansion rate. In turn, this is anticipated to fuel the growth of the foam market in the transportation sector. Significant advancements in the transportation industry have resulted from the use of plastic foam. Polyurethane (PU) foams are utilized in crash pads, armrests, headrests, doors, padding, noise damping, sound insulation, carpet backing, sun visors, instrument panels, energy conservation, and headliners.

Regional Analysis

The region-wise segmentation of the global foam plastics market includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

The Asia Pacific and North America Will Dominate the Regional Market

Foam Plastics Market Regional Analysis

Regional Growth Insights Request Sample Pages

The Asia Pacific will hold the most significant market proportion during the forecast period and grow at a CAGR of 3.1%. The Asia-Pacific foam plastics market share has experienced robust growth, particularly in China, India, and Southeast Asia. Multinational manufacturers' foreign investments drive the demand in China. Investing in foam production increases profit margins to gain access to inexpensive labor and raw materials. Asia-Pacific has the most significant demand for foam plastics. This is due to a rise in consumer spending on luxury goods and household goods and a surge in demand for foam plastics in bedding and mattresses. In addition, a rise in disposable income, a substantial expansion of the regional furniture and bedding industry, and favorable FDI policies are driving regional growth.

Moreover, the presence of a large population, a robust manufacturing base, and relatively harsh climatic conditions are the key factors that make Asia-Pacific the market leader for foam plastics insulation. Moreover, ongoing infrastructure development activities in numerous emerging economies support industrial expansion. EPE (expanded polyethylene) foam is the primary acoustic material in multiple construction projects. Real estate growth in India is anticipated to increase product demand. Additionally, EPE foam as reusable floor protection for interior construction projects is becoming more prevalent, fostering industry growth.

Europe will hold a revenue share of USD 32,162 million while growing at a CAGR of 3.7%. Polyurethane consumption in Europe is anticipated to be driven by its versatility as a product in new applications, as well as its uses and characteristics, such as sustainability and lightness, and the expansion of major end-use segments, such as automotive components and furniture & bedding, particularly in the United Kingdom. Increased insulation demand from low-income households to improve energy efficiency would increase the industry's market share. According to the European Association of Diisocyanate & Polyol Producers, buildings waste a significant amount of the energy they collect, resulting in the warming of the earth rather than houses. Polyurethane contributes significantly to building resources and energy conservation due to its superior insulating properties. Durability and abrasion resistance are the primary characteristics contributing to the products' long service life.

In addition, Eastern European nations such as Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are anticipated to experience a substantial increase in spending on furniture and bedding, which is expected to drive the demand for flexible polyurethane foam. The anticipated resurgence of the automotive industry in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, and France is another factor anticipated to balance demand. Additionally, the region's ongoing transition to a sustainable energy system is driving the need for green buildings in Germany. Consequently, the country's expanding construction industry is anticipated to produce sufficient growth opportunities for the Europe polyolefin foam market over the forecast period.

Industry Players in the Market

List of key foam plastic market manufacturers profiled

  • Alchemie Ltd.
  • BASF SE
  • Covestro
  • Hexion Inc.
  • Huntsman International LLC
  • Repsol
  • SABIC
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • Total SA.
  • Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd.

Recent Developments

  • In 2022, BASF SE and Confoil collaborated to develop DualPakECOâ, a certified compostable and dual ovenable food tray based on paper.
  • In 2022, BASF SE launched Ultramidâ A3EM8 OP, enabling more sustainable automotive parts painting.

Global Foam Plastics Market: Segmentation

By Type

  • Polyurethane
  • Polystyrene
  • Polyolefin
  • Phenolic
  • Others

By Application

  • Building & Construction
  • Packaging
  • Automotive
  • Furniture & Bedding
  • Footwear, Sports, & Recreational
  • Others

By Region

  • North America 
  • Asia Pacific
  • Europe
  • LAMEA
Free Sample Report