Polyolefin is one of the polymers derived from olefins wherein propylene and ethylene are widely used monomers to produce essential polymers such as polypropylene and polyethylene. Polyolefin elastomers are a new class of polymers with technological developments in the metallocene polymerization catalyst. Metallocene is an effective metal catalyst that comprises of tiny particles of positively charged metals ions sandwiched between cyclopentadienyl anions with formula (C5H5)2M where ‘M’ indicated the metal ion. Polyolefin elastomers possess excellent characteristics ranging from low to high molecular weight, amorphous to crystalline nature, enhanced elasticity, superior thermal stability, sturdy and increased durability, UV resistance, and low-temperature ductility. Rising applications of polyolefin elastomers in footwear, adhesives, foams, pipes, molded rubber goods, packaging, and wire and cables, are driving the market growth. The recent launch of technically advanced products such as Dow’s INSITE CGC and Exxpol are likely to engender market expansion.
The packaging industry plays a pivotal role, imparting value to several manufacturing sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceutical, medical, retail, FMCG, among others. Application of polyolefin elastomers in the packaging industry has expanded over the last few years and ranges across food packaging wrapping film, shrink film, along with advance packaging of various consumer goods, wire and cables, medical fluid bags and bottles, medical devices, and others.
The market has been on the upward trajectory on account of high demand from the end-use consumer as well as from industries such as food and pharmaceutical. According to the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students, 84% of FMCG professionals experience more pressure to forthwith bring new products to the market than they were 5 or 10 years ago. Thus, the role of FMCG packaging has gained greater importance since the packaging is as decisive as the product itself and it’s a critical marketing and communication tool for the business. All the aforementioned aspects, coupled with smooth recyclability, easy processability and economical cost of polyolefin elastomers, drives its demand in the packaging sector.
The global polyolefin elastomers market was valued at USD 1,151 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 1,972 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 7.6% during the forecast period.
The injection grade segment was valued at USD 400 million and is expected to generate revenue to the tune of USD 653 million, growing at a CAGR of 5.7%. The general grade segment accounted for the least share of the market i.e. close to 15% in 2018 and is likely to witness steady growth during the forecast period, 2019–2026.
The growth of the adhesives segment is attributed to increasing consumption and production of automobiles, and rising demand from various other applications such as foams, footwear, consumer goods, packaging, among others. Distinctive features of the material, such as superior bond and enhanced adhesion to a variety of substrates, further boost the market growth. The incorporation of advanced technology in adhesives is expected to generate lucrative opportunities engendering global expansion of the market.
In terms of application, the automotive segment is likely to grow at a significant pace. Growth factors of the segment include burgeoning demand for automobiles specifically from emerging nations of Asia-Pacific, such as India and China. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian automotive industry is expected to surpass USD 251 to 282 billion by 2026. The domestic automobile production rose at a CAGR of 6.96% and the production of passenger vehicles registered 2.8% in 2019. The demand for polyolefin elastomers is further generated by technological advancement and the rising adoption of various types of polymers during the manufacturing of vehicles.
North America contributed a significant share to the global polyolefin market, followed by Europe, with approximately 29% and 22% of market share, respectively. The regional market growth is predicted to continue with a similar trend during the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% and 6.5%, for North America and Europe. The market growth is attributed to the rising demand for automotive, particularly in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. in one of the prominent automotive markets globally. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2016, the U.S. exported close to 2.1 million light vehicles, which were valued at USD 57 billion to most of the countries across the globe. Besides, the country exported automotive parts that were valued at USD 80 billion. The automotive industry accounts for 3 to 3.5% of the U.S. GDP, aiding market growth. Moreover, rising per capita income and early adoption of cutting-edge technology, along with innovation in manufacturing methods, are providing an impetus to the polyolefin elastomers market growth in the regional.
Key players in the global polyolefin elastomers market include Mitsui Chemical, Inc., RTP Company Inc., LG Chem Ltd., DowDuPont Inc. (U.S), PolyOne Corporation, LyondellBasell Industries, Sinopec Corp, Formosa Plastics Group, Dalmia Polymers LLP., ExxonMobil Chemical, Borealis AG, Arkema S.A., and Braskem S.A. Several strategies have been adopted by manufacturers such as collaborations and technological advancements to cement their footprint in the global polyolefin elastomers market. For instance, in June 2016, Borealis AG launched three new polyolefin elastomers (POE) grades, namely Queo 7001LA, Queo 7007LA, and Quep 6800LA. This product launch further broadened the company’s product portfolio, providing high-value specialty polyethylene (PE) products for application in consumer packaging, automotive, electronics and electrical, and housewares.
In November 2016, SABIC made a considerable investment in the development of next-generation polypropylene (PP). The company established a new pilot plant in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands. Using gas-phase polymerization technology, this plant is expected to support the production of superior materials that meet the needs of the various industries such as appliances, pipe, automotive, and advanced packaging. Additionally, the company is striving to develop several grades of PP with improved stiffness, impact, and flow properties.
Apart from these the small scale players in the market, few of the notable players in the market include Reliance Industries Limited, Siloxane Aggrandize Innovative Industries, Tricon Energy Inc., SK Global Chemical Co., Ltd., China National Petroleum Corp., ABU Dhabi Polymers Company Ltd (Borouge), SABIC, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LIC, Ineos Group Limited, among others.