The global synthetic leather market size was valued at USD 31.89 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach a valuation of USD 67.23 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.91% during the forecast period (2022–2030).
Synthetic leather, also called artificial leather, substitutes leather in upholstery, clothing, footwear, and other areas where a leather-like finish is sought. Still, the actual material is too expensive or unsuitable. Leatherette, faux leather, imitation leather, vegan leather, PU leather, and pleather are used to describe artificial leather. Clothing textiles, furniture upholstery, watercraft upholstery, and vehicle interiors incorporate artificial leather. Some synthetic leathers require plastic, while others require plant-based components; artificial materials in artificial leather manufacture presents significant sustainability concerns.
Natural leather is derived from animals, which involves animal slaughter. Various governments have adopted many rules and legislation to protect animal rights. Animal rights legislation has become a significant roadblock for natural leather producers. Growing public awareness of animal abuse, supported by programs sponsored by organizations like PETA, has driven demand for leather alternatives. Manufacturers are increasingly turning to synthetic leather due to a widening supply-demand gap in the natural leather market.
Another essential aspect pushing synthetic leather adoption is its lower manufacturing cost. Synthetic leather is less expensive than natural leather, and the manufacturing process is also more straightforward. This has resulted in increasing investment in synthetic leather, which will assist in market penetration. Natural leather manufacturing activities, particularly tanning, pollute the surrounding environment. Another key factor contributing to the shift in demand for synthetic leather is the cost. Environmental legislation and government regulations have played a role in increasing demand for synthetic leather.
Thus, the variables mentioned above are likely to drive the demand for synthetic leather over the forecast period.
Due to increased demand from emerging nations, the footwear sector has seen significant growth in recent years. However, consumer spending in the United States and several European countries have slowed marginally due to the global recession. China, India, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and other South Asian countries have all expressed great interest. This is likely to impact the demand for synthetic leather in Asia significantly.
Over the forecast period, more foreign investment will accelerate industrial penetration in emerging economies. Luxury brands were among the first to adapt to the shift in consumer purchasing patterns worldwide. In 2016, Prada, for example, established 27 new stores throughout Asia-Pacific, accounting for almost 35% of the brand's total number of outlets. Over the next several years, such activities are expected to play a critical role in increasing the market penetration of synthetic leather companies.
International players must also alter their pricing strategies to account for local competition in developing economies. For global corporations, this will be a significant hurdle. Furthermore, the flood of new client groups will strain product development channels as they attempt to fulfill a wide range of demands and preferences. The rising middle class, which is likely to be the key growth catalyst for the overall market in the foreseeable future, must be considered by footwear brands.
Polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane, among other synthetic leather raw materials, are detrimental to the ecosystem, animal health, and human health. Polyurethane isocyanate really can aggravate the lungs and provoke asthma attacks. It affects the epidermis and makes it more challenging to breathe. Workers commonly inhale polyurethane fumes in polyurethane manufacturing facilities, causing vertigo, vomiting, and nausea.
Toxic carcinogens discovered in polyvinyl chloride include dioxin, phthalates, and vinyl chloride monomer. Whenever chlorine-containing compounds are charred, dioxin is emitted, which is a highly poisonous and deadly chemical. As a result of the toxic effect of polyurethane and the polyvinyl chloride production process, the synthetic leather sector is impeded. Thus, the market's growth will likely be hampered by the detrimental consequences of polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride over the forecast timeframe.
The bio-based faux leather manufacturing process has no adverse consequences on the ecosystem. Synthetic leather manufactured from natural fibers like flax cotton or cotton fibers coupled with corn, palm, soybean, and others should be the focus of manufacturers. Leaves of pineapple fruit are indeed being utilized to manufacture "Pinatex," a novel synthetic leather item. These pineapple leaves have an elastic and solid fiber that makes them excellent for usage in the manufacturing procedure.
Leaves of pineapple are seen as a waste material, so these leaves are used to make anything valuable without spending a wealth of material. Products like shoes, handbags, and other accessories made from pineapple fiber have hit the market. Bio-based synthetic leather could be a massive prospect for synthetic leather makers, considering the rising ecological legislation and government regulations in the European Union and North America about using harmful poisonous chemicals.
The global synthetic leather market share has been classified based on the product, application, and region.
The synthetic leather market has been segmented into PVC, PU, and Bio-based, based on product. The PU-based synthetic leather segment is expected to dominate the global market, and it is projected to reach USD 41,876 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 8.52% during the forecast timeline.
Polyurethane (PU) leather is more environmentally friendly than vinyl-based leather because it does not release dioxins. However, it is more expensive than PVC-based leather due to the lengthy manufacturing process. In terms of product quality, variety, and yield, the demand for PU synthetic leather has risen in recent years. Its usability and application scope are approaching those of genuine leather, and it is gradually replacing genuine leather in handbags, briefcases, automobile interiors, and clothes.
The synthetic leather market has been segmented into footwear, automotive, furnishing, bags and wallets, clothing, and others, based on application. The footwear segment is likely to dominate the global market, and it is projected to reach USD 22,516 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 8.25% during the forecast period.
The primary application category for synthetic leather is footwear. Due to increased consumer disposable income and economic development, the segment is predicted to grow significantly over the forecast period. The growing popularity of athleisure, a trend that involves wearing sports shoes with casual clothing, is likely to drive up demand for synthetic leather in footwear.
The global synthetic leather market share has been segregated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
With an expected market value of USD 31,208 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 8.95%, Asia-Pacific is expected to be the largest market for synthetic leather. Major market competitors focus on developing regions to meet expanding product demand and boost profitability. Over the forecast period, the widespread use of synthetic leather in luggage, boots, shoes, wallets, bags, and other consumer products is expected to drive the artificial leather market in this region.
By 2030, China will likely dominate the Asia-Pacific's synthetic leather market, and it will be one of the region's fastest-growing markets. The largest leather user is in key application categories such as automobiles, furniture, and clothes. The automotive and footwear industries, which are essential application categories for synthetic leather, are flourishing in the country. India, Korea, and Italy are China's leading artificial leather suppliers.
With an expected market value of USD 14,730 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 6.75%, Europe is expected to be the second-largest market for synthetic leather. Due to the region's thriving automobile and consumer appliance industries, the artificial leather market in Europe has seen significant growth. Following the economic slump, governments in the region are focusing on bio-based, low-cost, and long-lasting products. This is expected to improve the demand for synthetic leather in this region.
During the last few years, the German leather sector has grown slowly. In the European Union, animal hide production is on the decline. Rawhide costs jumped by 15% in 2011 and another 23% in 2013, resulting in a significant demand and supply gap for leather items. As a result, new market entrants' extensive research and development operations in the synthetic leather industry provided a good rise for the overall market.
The automotive interior, upholstery, and footwear industries saw significant demand increases. Luxurious products, shoes, and purses made of synthetic leather were also in high demand.
Key players in the global synthetic leather market are
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