The global nylon market size was valued at USD 33.23 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 54.26 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Nylon is any synthetic polymeric material composed of polyamides with a high molecular weight that is typically, but not always, produced as a fiber. A research group at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, led by an American chemist named Wallace H. Carothers, created nylons in the 1930s. The successful synthesis of a useful fiber using chemicals found in air, water, coal, and petroleum sparked an increase in polymer research, giving rise to a fast-expanding family of synthetics.
Nylon can be drawn, cast, or extruded through spinnerets from a melt or solution to produce fibers, filaments, bristles, or sheets that can then be made into yarn, cloth, cordage, or molded into different shapes. It has a high level of heat, chemical, and wear resistance. It is also durable, ductile, and robust when cold-drawn. In addition to its widespread use as fine and coarse filaments in hosiery, parachutes, and barbs, nylon is also employed in the molding industry, particularly injection molding, where its tensile strength and ability to flow around complex inserts are key advantages.
The automobile sector is a highly concentrated industry. Timing belts, cylinder head coverings, crankcases, bushings, bearings, oil reservoirs, wire harness connectors, fuse boxes, and oil containers are examples of nylon engine parts. The quick expansion of the Chinese market and the steady expansion of the European automotive industry are primarily to blame for the increase in the production of automobiles. In addition, the vehicle industry has seen recent years of rapid growth, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The main factors stimulating the growth of this industry are improving socioeconomic trends and infrastructure development.
Additionally, nylon exhibits good temperature chemical and temperature resistance, toughness, strength and stiffness, and abrasion resistance. Because of this, nylon can be utilized as a coating and film to shield raw materials from corrosion. These developments have led to the adoption of nylon in the automotive sector because it is more environmentally friendly than plastics. In addition to being lightweight and adaptable, the materials also enable greater design flexibility, making it possible to produce cutting-edge forms without endangering the stability and safety of the vehicle. Such advantages of using nylon in the automobile industry are estimated to boost the market over the forecast period.
The COVID-19 outbreak significantly increased demand for face masks and nylon, which is expected to be advantageous for the textile industry. During the third quarter of 2021, most textile businesses saw a strong uptick in sales, which continued during the first quarter of 2022 as domestic demand rose gradually. Nylon fabric is also utilized in numerous textile products, including hats, swimsuits, athletic shoes, ponchos, bridal veils, flak jackets, backpacks, and wedding costumes. This, coupled with the expansion of the textile industry, is anticipated to increase demand for nylon fabric, thereby driving market growth.
Nylon substitutes such as polypropylene, bioresorbable polymers, para-aramid synthetic fibers, and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVF) are anticipated to restrict the global market expansion because of their lower competitive prices. Cheaper counterparts, such as polyester monofilaments, are presumed to hamper the growth of the nylon monofilament market. For instance, polyester monofilaments have proven useful in multiple industries, such as commercial textiles, fishing, industrial textiles, automotive, consumer goods, and electrical insulation. Therefore, cheaper substitutes are projected to trigger the monofilament market's competitiveness and are positioned to eat the global nylon monofilament market share.
Additionally, the increasing shift from fossil fuels to bio-based alternatives creates a major challenge for fossil fuel-based nylon. Biotechnology-based companies like Genomatica, Inc use microorganisms to produce caprolactam from plant sugars is expected to create a more rapid impact on sustainability. Likewise, the growing number of end-use companies like H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB implementing sustainable materials in their product as a replacement for virgin nylon is expected to restrict the growth of the conventional nylon market over the forecast period.
Nylon is extensively utilized in electrical and electronic applications, including the manufacture of tubes for cables and wirings, contactors, connectors, circuit breakers, and low-voltage switch gears. In addition, nylon 6's enhanced electrical insulation, good processability, thin walls, laser marking capability, low flammability, high stiffness and toughness, practical ball pressure temperature, high heat distortion temperature, excellent flow characteristics, quick injection cycle time, lightweight are driving its adoption in the electrical and electronics industries.
Additionally, circuit boards made from nylon provide spacing, support, and locking capabilities for the attachment of electrical components. The advantage of nylon hardware used in circuit boards over metal is the material's superior electrical isolation, which can contribute to a positive outlook for the nylon market in electrical and electronic applications. Such factors create opportunities for market growth.
The global nylon market is segmented by product and application.
Based on the product, the global nylon market is bifurcated into nylon 6 and nylon 66.
The nylon 6 segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 5.41% over the forecast period. Due to its unique properties, nylon 6 is a more affordable substitute for materials like steel, bronze, brass, gunmetal, aluminum, plastics, and rubber. Manufacturers of electrical protection devices are drawn to employ Nylon 6 because of these advantages. The past few years have seen nylon 6 used in various applications, establishing its dependability, usability, and favorable economics based on price and performance. In addition, the product is appropriate for situations where aesthetics are vital because of its exceptional surface polish, even under harsh conditions. The premium carpet business, which has roots in Europe, has a considerable need for Nylon 6.
One of the biggest importers of nylon is Turkey, which has a sizable nylon-based textile sector. Due to consumer preference for experimenting with various raw materials, the garment and apparel business is likewise experiencing astounding expansion. Moreover, the demand for nylon 6 filament is rapidly gaining pace for use in travel accessories owing to their ability to provide high abrasion resistance, better dimensional stability, higher impact strength, etc.
Nylon 66's unique combination of thermal and mechanical properties makes it suitable for electrical and load-bearing applications. Due to its minimal moisture absorption, Nylon 66 demonstrates superior dimensional stability and wear resistance. Nylon 66 has a shorter and stronger bond, resulting in a denser and more compact structure than Nylon 6. In addition, Nylon 66 can endure extreme temperatures and melts 40 degrees Celsius higher than Nylon 6. The enhanced properties of Nylon 66 over Nylon 6, the leading producer in this market, are a significant factor in driving product demand. Due to its high dielectric resistance, Nylon 66 has become the preferred material for thermomechanically and thermally stressed moldings. Further, the expansion of Nylon 66's application scope due to advances in polymer technology is expected to contribute to the segment's growth over the next few years.
Based on application, the global nylon market is segmented into automobile, electrical and electronics, engineering plastics, textiles, and others.
The automobile segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period. Nylon composites make vehicle parts lighter and more environmentally friendly while increasing their environmental sustainability. The composites make airbag canisters, air intake manifolds, vehicle cooling systems, hydraulic clutch lines, and headlight bezels. Additionally, they are utilized in exterior components, including front-end grilles, doors, mirrors, fuel caps, tailgate handles, and wheel covers. Due to superior mechanical qualities, wear resistance, and the expanding desire for lightweight vehicles to increase fuel efficiency, nylon composites are anticipated to boost demand in the automotive sector.
In addition, nylon has been widely used to replace steel in engine compartment parts due to its advantages over traditional metals, such as lighter weight and better design freedom. The ability of small-cylinder capacity engines to switch between air charge temperatures has been a contributing factor in the long-term trend of engine downsizing in the automobile industry.
Nylon is widely used in electrical and electronics applications, including producing tubes for cables and wirings, connectors, contactors, circuit breakers, and low-voltage switch gears. The electrical and electronics industries are embracing nylon 6 due to its improved electrical insulating qualities, good processability, ability to create thin walls, laser marking capability, low flammability, use of halogen-free flame retardants, practical ball pressure temperature, high stiffness and toughness, excellent flow characteristics, high heat distortion temperature, quick injection cycle time, and lightweight.
The global nylon market is bifurcated based on region into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global nylon market shareholder and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.6% during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific, led by China, India, and Japan, emerged as the fastest-growing region in the global nylon market in terms of volume and revenue. The nylon market in this region is primarily driven by the availability of low-cost labor and raw materials in combination with growing consumer buying power. A sizable untapped market and benevolent government policies are tempting international nylon producers to establish production and distribution facilities in the area. In addition, major international players are expanding their regional operations due to several government initiatives aimed at developing the manufacturing sector, including tax breaks, subsidies, and an increase in the FDI limit.
In 2020, China emerged as the largest automobile market globally. China and India are the two biggest smartphone markets in the electronics sector. The presence of a well-developed automobile market and growing infrastructure creates growth potential for the product in this region.
Europe is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.4% over the forecast period. Nylon is a developed and mature business in Europe. In 2022, the automotive industry emerged as the most important application segment, holding a more than 38% volume share. Higher safety standards related to crashworthiness and stringent regulatory norms focused on improving environmental health are the major factors for the region's higher market penetration of nylon. In addition, the presence of well-known internationally renowned automobile companies like Fiat, BMW, Volkswagen, etc., and well-developed infrastructure drives Europe's automobile and auto components industry. It is one of the most important sectors of the European Union.
Furthermore, development in the automobile sector and government focus on reducing vehicular emissions creates more demand for lightweight plastics in the region. Nylons are considered extremely heat-resistant products having excellent strength and insulation properties. In Europe, the major end-user segments for nylon are the labeling, automobile, and electronics industries. Labeling at high temperatures in electronics, automobiles, and aerospace requires strong electromechanical properties. Advancements in engineering plastics also significantly fueled the demand for nylon in this region.
In North America, the development of automobile, aerospace, and key manufacturing industries primarily drives the nylon industry. The demand for nylon in North America is rising since engineering polymers are used more frequently in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, defense, and electrical and electronics. The presence of significant automobile manufacturers like Chrysler, Tesla, Ford, and Cadillac; proper infrastructure; and high disposable income are the prominent factors driving the automobile industry in North America. In addition, growing customized vehicles demand where lightweight materials are used to provide desirable specifications and performance is also a major driver for automobile nylon application.
In 2022, the U.S. was the world's second-biggest automobile producer, accounting for 66% of the North American automobile market. Likewise, growing automobile production in Mexico and the U.S., focusing on increasing domestic production to develop its industrial sector, is projected to develop the automobile sector. This is further projected to increase the nylon demand in the region over the coming years.
Central and South America region is growing at the second fastest growth rate in the global nylon market owing to the ongoing development in the electronics and automotive industry. Customers' purchasing power has greatly improved thanks to favorable economic developments in the area, which has positively impacted regional market expansion. In addition, the region's growing consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare, and defense sectors are expected to contribute to the regional product demand over the next few years.
In the Middle East and Africa, the nylon market has shown resilience in recent years. The Gulf Cooperation Council's oil-exporting nations' efforts to diversify their economies and the removal of economic sanctions on Iran are expected to spur further increases in nylon demand in the Middle East and Africa area. Regardless of the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria and falling oil profits, the Middle East and Africa region still offers countless opportunities to polymer manufacturers because of the growing population, income, and availability of oil used as a basic raw material for most chemical products. Ongoing development in key end-user industries also creates a substantial growth potential for lightweight, innovative nylon products across the Middle East and Africa.
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