The global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam market size was valued at USD 362 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 705.75 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.7% over the forecast period (2022-2030). PET foams offer outstanding mechanical properties, including low weight, excellent mechanical strength, and high-temperature resistance. PET foams with stable chemical properties and minimal water absorption traits are produced via the transesterification process. The main driver fueling the market growth is increased consumer demand for environmentally friendly polymers. The market's growth rate will also be directly and favorably impacted by growing industrialization and manufacturers' concentration on R&D to better use an increasing number of recyclable resources.
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Increasing Construction Activities in the Asia-Pacific Region
The construction industry in Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most significant and fastest-growing industry globally, both in the residential and commercial sectors, with approximately a 45% share of the global construction spending coming from the region. China is in the middle of a construction mega-boom. The country has the most significant building market in the world, making up 20% of all construction investments globally. The Japanese construction industry registered slight growth in 2019 compared to 2018. Residential construction is the largest market in the Japanese construction industry, accounting for over 30% of the industry's total value in 2019, whereas commercial construction comprises nearly 13% share of the industry. Japan is home to about 290 high-rise buildings, with Tokyo serving as a significant hub for these structures. Shortly, Japan will see an increase in the design and construction of such skyscrapers. Thus, based on all the factors mentioned above, the growing Asian-Pacific construction industry is expected to drive the PET foam market in the region.
Increasing Adoption in the Automotive Industry
Recent years have witnessed increased demand for lightweight polymers and composite materials due to rising customer demand for fuel-efficient and lightweight automobiles. PET foam has several advantages, including excellent surface qualities, solid electrical properties, and thermal stability. PET foams are utilized to make exterior body pieces and the housing and casing for many other automobile components, including wiper arms and housings for their gears, engine covers, interior trim, connector housings, headlamps retainers, and many more. Foam replaces heavier components, resulting in a 10% weight reduction overall and a 3% to 7% increase in fuel economy.
Due to the US-China trade war and other political factors, there was a fall in car production in 2019. The poor sales in the second half of 2019 are anticipated to continue in the first half of 2020. By the end of 2020, the automobile sector is expected to revive. Additionally, due to numerous government initiatives encouraging a transition from fossil fuels due to the different environmental issues, the development of electric vehicles may continue to pick up steam in the following years, particularly in Europe, China, and the United States. Due to all of these factors, the PET Foams market is anticipated to expand globally over the forecast period.
Availability of Substitutes for PET Foam
PET is inexpensive and lightweight, has good mechanical and thermal insulating capabilities, higher temperature tolerance, lower toxicity, easy recycling, and a lower carbon footprint. However, it can be difficult to consistently produce stable, homogeneous PET foams, which deters some producers from using them. First, adding additives to the polymer, like chain extenders, is necessary for PET foaming. The equipment must also be made for high temperatures because PET has a melting point of about 250°C.
Thus, there are various core foams available in the market, such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN), Polymethacrylimide (PMI), and Polyetherimide (PEI). These foams are easy to process and shape and deliver an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Consequently, they are used across the wind energy, aerospace and defense, marine, and transportation end-use industries. These foams can be considered a potential substitute for PET foam. Thus, many substitutes are regarded as a critical restraint for market growth.
Growing Utilization of Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate
The market would have considerable opportunities due to the rising demand for recycled PET from various industries, including the food and beverage, packaging, and automotive sectors. Therefore, prominent businesses have started to produce recyclable plastics in response to rising greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacture of plastics and pollution brought on by plastic trash. This plastic is also a material that can be easily recycled compared to other polymers, promoting market expansion. According to the PET Resin Association, polyethylene terephthalate is the most recycled plastic in the world. The United States recycles more than 680 tons of PET bottles and containers yearly. Due to the product's disposable qualities, there is also an increase in demand for it as single-use plastic globally. Therefore, there is a demand for products like cutlery, straws, bottles, cups, and food packaging.
The global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam market is segmented by type and end-user.
By type, the global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam market is segmented into low-density PET foam and high-density PET foam.
The low-density PET foam segment accounts for the largest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.9% over the forecast period. PET foam is preferred at low density, especially for commercial container applications, as low-density foam shows improved performance at low temperatures and required stiffness for deeply formed containers. Low-density PET foam is an excellent solution for various end-use industries, including transportation, building and construction, and packaging, owing to its lightweight and superior chemical and electrical resistance. The high growth of the packaging, building, and construction combined with the wide application of low-density PET foam and its unique qualities compared to the other core materials in these industries is driving the low-density PET foams.
High-density foam is generally sturdier and more form than low-density foam but is relatively more brittle. High-density PET is used for wind blade applications. Recently there has been a rise in the multi-density pet foams in many applications. Higher density layering also enables screw retention to improve by up to 30% without the need for extra reinforcing. These attributes fuel the segment's expansion.
By end-user industry, the global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam market is segmented into building and construction, marine, packaging, transportation, wind energy, and other end-user industries.
The wind energy segment accounts for the largest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% during the forecast period. The need for wind energy has been increasing at an unprecedented rate due to the global demand for cleaner and more efficient energy mechanisms. In general, by 2030, the global electricity demand is estimated to increase by 75%. According to the World Energy Outlook - International Energy Agency forecast, more than 2,457 gigawatt (GW) power capacity will likely be installed worldwide over the next 25 years. The share of renewables like wind energy is growing exponentially, positively affecting the demand for PET foams.
The usage of PET foam is also rising in the transportation sector, along with other engineering plastics. PET foam offers various advantages, such as low water absorption, good thermal stability, good electrical properties, and excellent surface properties. PET foams are utilized to make exterior body parts and the housing and casing of numerous automobile parts, such as wiper arms and their gear housings, engine covers, interior trims, connector housings, and headlamp retainers. This is driving the demand for PET foam in the transportation industry.
PET foam is used as insulation material in the building and construction sectors. PET foams are used in sandwich panels which are used in building construction. Low-density PET foams are laminated between two relatively thin but high tensile strength facings, successfully employed in various applications that require lightweight yet structurally solid and stiff constructions. The high growth of the Asia-Pacific construction industry, combined with a growing focus on green and energy-efficient buildings in Europe and North America, is expected to fuel the demand for PET foam from the building and construction sector.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
By region, the global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam market is segmented into North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and SAMEA.
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Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period. The packaging industry in China is the second largest in the world. Due to the growth of customized packaging in the food sector, including microwave, snack, and frozen meals, and rising exports, the nation is anticipated to have steady growth during the projection period. Furthermore, China is a hub for various manufacturing activities. It is involved in the export of various goods in bulk, either small or huge, to various international destinations. Therefore, this scenario will likely boost the demand for PET foams in the country.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9%, generating USD 145 million during the forecast period. Germany is the most important construction market in Europe. The country's construction industry has been expanding slowly due to the rise in new residential construction activity. Approximately 315,000 new homes are expected to be completed in 2019, which is more than the 300,000 amount completed in 2018. The country's rising immigration rate has boosted the desire for new home building. In addition, during 2019, the domestic construction sector recorded a robust growth of about 9% in revenue. The trend is predicted to remain the same for the following years due to the expected increase in residential construction and public investment.
According to the German Plastics Packaging Industry Association (IK), the packaging industry witnessed a 5.1% increase in sales and a 3.9% increase in volume. The country is witnessing demand for smaller pack sizes in some packaged food and personal care industries. This trend is further anticipated to intensify over the forecast period and is projected to fuel the market demand for PET foams over the forecast period.
North America is the third largest region in the global polyethylene terephthalate market. The world's largest aerospace market is the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that the commercial aircraft fleet will grow from 7,397 in 2018 to 8,270 by 2037. Furthermore, because of the aging of the current fleet, the US mainliner carrier fleet is predicted to expand by 54 aircraft annually. The manufacturing activities in the aerospace industry have been driven by strong exports of aerospace components to nations like France, China, and Germany, as well as solid consumer spending in the United States. With a new plan to design, develop, and produce new fighter jets in five years or less, the US Air Force was further revising its next-generation fighter jet acquisition strategy in September 2019. This is intended to increase domestic production. As a result of these developments in the aerospace and military industries, it is anticipated that demand for aircraft and jets will drive production, creating derived demand for the global polyethylene terephthalate market.