Styrenics refer to the thermoplastics derived from styrene. It is a colorless oily organic compound occurring naturally in small quantities in plants and a variety of foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beverages, meat, and is also found in coal tar. It is produced by polymerization of styrene monomers and compounds, such as acrylonitrile, butadiene, and others, and is widely used across the automotive industry, packaging, construction, and electronic appliances. In addition to this, it is rapidly replacing metallic parts across various end-user industries owing to its properties, such as lightweight, durability, flexibility, thermal efficiency, and moisture resistivity.
Furthermore, styrenics are efficient plastics, structuring a family of main plastic products. With styrene as their vital building block and materials made from it can be found in items, such as food and drink containers, packaging, rubber tires, building insulation, carpet backing, computers, and reinforced fiberglass composites (boat hulls, surfboards, kitchen countertops, etc). Therefore, the global styrenics market is expected to grow rapidly during the forecast period due to the increasing demand from various end-use industries. However, risings health and environmental concerns because of the use of styrene are anticipated to restrict the market growth.
The styrenics market is expected to grow during the forecast period owing to the growing demand from various end-use industries such as automotive, construction, packaging, medical, etc. The increasing population, urbanization, rising manufacturing activities due to low manufacturing costs, and an increase in the per capita disposable income of the population have led to an improved standard of living. This has further led to an increased demand for various products which use styrenics thus, boosting styrenics market demand.
As per the data shared by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the urban and rural per capita of the country had a rise of 5% and 6.2% in real terms, after deducting the price factors, which shows the growth of income in emerging economies.
Additionally, due to rapid industrialization and urbanization, there has been an increase in construction and remodeling activities globally, which is expected to create a surge in demand for styrenics. The styrene-based products contribute to the potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by providing energy-efficient insulation in the building and therefore, is anticipated to boost the market growth. Furthermore, it is used in packaging, rigid foodservice containers, medical and optical devices, electronics, toys, kitchen appliances, household items, military and commercial aircraft, and many other applications, which will propel the market growth.
The packaging sector is expected to boost the demand for styrenics during the forecast period. It is widely used in the packaging industry, due to its properties, such as lightweight, durability, flexibility, thermal efficiency, and moisture resistivity. Styrenics extensively finds its application in the packaging of food products, such as fish, meat, fruits, milk products, processed foods, among others. In addition to this, it also provides a cost-effective and environment-friendly packaging solution that does not emit chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) or hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC).
Furthermore, changes in the lifestyle of individuals are also leading to the expansion of the packaging industry as they are preferring ready-to-eat, packaged food products, which is positively influencing the demand for packaging, which in turn, augment the growth of the global styrenics market. Thus, with the growing packaging needs across the globe, the usage of styrenics is expected to grow rapidly during the forecast period.
The styrenics provides multiple applications in different end-use industries, which has increased its demand in the market and has boosted its market growth. However, stringent rules and regulations set by the governments concerning the production of plastics and other resins and their negative impacts on human health are expected to hinder the growth of this market.
It emits toxic vapors when exposed to the atmosphere and produces carbon monoxide on decomposition, responsible for severely impacting the environment. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for the living organisms to breathe, and continuous exposure to it can be fatal. In addition to this, the styrenics irritate the eyes, skin, other mucous membranes, and respiratory tracts.
According to the report shared by the Health Protection Agency, the United Kingdom, it can irritate eyes, skin, respiratory system problems, dizziness, nervous system depression, etc. Therefore, due to these harmful effects, the growth of the styrenics market is expected to restrain. Moreover, the market players involved in this market should take care of all the necessary precautions and protective equipment to avoid any accidental exposure.
Based on geography, the Styrenics market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. The Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the largest regional market by holding the maximum share in the global styrenics market during the forecast period. The growth can be attributed to the rising population in emerging economies such as China and India and the boom of various industries, such as automotive, medical, electronics, packaging, and many others in the region.
The players of various markets or industries are further shifting their focus in this region because of the easy availability of raw material along with low-cost labor and improved production facilities, which are expected to increase the demand for various consumer goods. This will propel the demand for styrenics as it finds extensive use in the packaging and consumer goods sector. According to the Packaging Industry Association of India (PIAI), the packaging is the fifth largest sector in the Indian economy and is growing at 22-25% per annum.
Furthermore, the increasing per capita disposable income of the consumers leading to an increase in the purchasing power has positively impacted the growth of the automotive sector, which uses styrenics for different functions in manufacturing applications and reducing the weight of the vehicles. It provides good moisture resistance, thermal efficiency, durability, and flexibility. As per the statistics shared by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the production of India's domestic automobiles increased at 2.36% CAGR between 2016 and 2020, with 26.36 million vehicles being manufactured in the country in 2020. In addition to this, the automobile export reached 4.77 million vehicles in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 6.94% from 2016 to 2020.
Europe is expected to have the second-largest market share in the global styrenics market owing to the growing automotive industry, which uses styrenics for interior and exterior applications. According to the data shared by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, commercial vehicle registrations across the European Union saw an increase of 5.7% in December 2019. The increasing per capita income of the population and growing needs for personal vehicles due to growing populations have led to this boost.
Furthermore, industrialization and urbanization have led to an increased demand for several consumer goods from different end-use industries, such as electronics, food and beverages, packaging, etc., which is positively impacting the demand for styrenics as these are used for preparing the packaging materials used by these industries. Therefore, considering all the factors, the demand for styrenics is expected to rise in the region in the coming years.
The styrenics market is highly competitive with the presence of numerous top-tier petrochemical players across the globe. The companies in the market compete on factors such as price, innovation, operational cost, and product quality. To retain their position in the competitive environment, these players must follow several major strategies and strengthen the restructuring of their activities and concentrate on geographic or product expansions and corporate reshuffling.
Therefore, these players have adopted the strategies such as partnership, collaboration, acquisition, joint ventures, product innovation, expansion, etc. For instance, SABIC, a Saudi-based Petrochemical manufacturing company, acquired 83 million shares in Clariant AG in 2018 to expand its product portfolio by including specialty chemicals.