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The electronic industry applies silicones mainly to protect electronic components from extreme heat, moisture, etc. (Photo: Ceresana)
The electronic industry applies silicones mainly to protect electronic components from extreme heat, moisture, etc. (Photo: Ceresana)

The global revenues of silicone market amounted to over US$16.3 billion in 2017, according to a study by Ceresana. The silicone market is expected to increase further by 3.9% p.a. until 2025.

Diverse applications

A decisive advantage for manufacturers of silicones is the variety of sales markets: Demand is distributed evenly among several large sectors. In the construction industry, for example, silicones are mainly used as sealants, adhesives, and in coatings.

The electronic industry applies silicones mainly to protect electronic components from extreme heat, moisture, salt, corrosion, and contamination. Among others, computers, telephones, and LED lights contain silicones and the application areas are being gradually expanded.

Silicone demand in the automotive segment will presumably register similarly high growth rates in the upcoming eight years as in the electrical and electronics industry. Innovative projects such as hybrid and electric vehicles or autonomous vehicles will support this growth. In 2017, however, the construction industry was the segment with the highest silicone consumption.

Different types of silicones

A large part of the global production and revenues of silicones is accounted for by silicone elastomers which are, for example, used in seals, electrical insulations or baking tins.

A distinction is made between solid and liquid silicone rubber. In regard to silicone elastomers, the highest revenues are generated in the region Asia-Pacific. In Western Europe and North America, revenues generated with elastomers are slightly higher than revenues generated with silicone oils.

Silicone resins that are for example used for paints and varnishes have so far been accounting for a much smaller market share in all regions, but are likely to develop at sound growth rates in the future.

Major production regions

The region Asia-Pacific is, by far, the major producer of silicones worldwide. Ceresana expected the production in this region to continue to grow.

Western Europe accounts for the second highest production figures, followed by North America. Asia-Pacific, China in particular, is also the largest consumer of silicones.

The gap to the second and third largest sales markets, Western Europe and North America, is likely to continue to widen in the future. Yet, established industrialized countries report a higher market value compared to silicone demand, as China tends to consume cheaper products instead of high-end specialty silicones.

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