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58% of total global synthetic rubber demand was accounted for by applications in original equipment and replacement tires.
58% of total global synthetic rubber demand was accounted for by applications in original equipment and replacement tires.

Elastically deformable plastics have been necessary for several technical applications but also for various everyday objects. Per year, more than 12.7 million tonnes of these types of polymers are consumed worldwide, according to a recent study by Ceresana.

The most important sales market in 2017 was the tires segment: 58% of total global demand was accounted for by applications in original equipment and replacement tires.

Rubbers are also used for numerous other products in the automotive industry: for example for hoses, cables, seals as well as window and door profiles. For the automotive segment, Ceresana expected an increase of global rubber demand by 3.0% p.a. until 2025.

The second largest application area for rubbers are elastically deformable engineering products with a stable shape such as conveyor belts, roll covers, hoses, profiles, seals, cables, molded parts, and roofing films.

Ranging from the chemical industry, engineering, and construction to electrics and electronics, increasing number of rubber products are needed. For the period until 2025, it is expected that the global demand for rubber in the segments industry and construction to increase by 2.4% p.a.

Styrene-butadiene rubber to be the market leader

By far, the most important rubber type is styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR): about 5.1 million tonnes were processed in 2017. SBR is produced by emulsion polymerization (E-SBR) or solution polymerization (S-SBR).

While E-SBR accounts for approximately 72% of total SBR demand, the market for S-SBR develops at significantly more dynamical growth rates of 3.8% p.a.

The tire industry is the dominating sales market for these two products as well as for butadiene rubber (BR), butyl rubber (IIR), and polyisoprene (IR).

A different picture is presented in the case of ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM), chlorobutadiene rubber (CR), and acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR): These rubber types are mainly used in industrial and construction products as well as for modification of other materials.

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