Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are a type of polymer
material that combines the flexibility and durability of rubber with the
processability and recyclability of thermoplastics. TPEs are a popular choice
in various applications because of their unique characteristics, including
their ability to be molded or shaped into various forms, their resistance to
chemicals, and their low-temperature flexibility.
TPEs are generally composed of three main components: a hard
segment, a soft segment, and a midblock that connects the two segments. The
hard segment provides the material with strength and stiffness, while the soft
segment provides flexibility and elasticity. The midblock acts as a bridge
between the hard and soft segments, allowing the material to maintain its
structure and properties.
There are several types of TPEs, including styrenic block
copolymers (SBCs), thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs), thermoplastic
vulcanizates (TPVs), and copolyester elastomers (COPEs). Each type has its
unique properties and characteristics, making them suitable for different
SBCs are one of the most commonly used TPEs and are composed
of styrene and butadiene. They are known for their excellent flexibility,
low-temperature resistance, and good processability. TPUs, on the other hand,
are composed of polyurethane and are known for their high abrasion resistance,
tear strength, and flexibility. TPVs are a blend of a thermoplastic and a
cross-linked elastomer and are known for their good weather resistance,
high-temperature stability, and oil resistance. COPEs are composed of polyester
and polyether segments and are known for their good chemical resistance and high-temperature
TPEs are used in a variety of applications, including
automotive, construction, medical, and consumer products. In the automotive
industry, TPEs are used for weather sealing, gaskets, and interior trim
components. In the construction industry, TPEs are used for roofing membranes,
window profiles, and cable sheathing. In the medical industry, TPEs are used
for tubing, seals, and stoppers. In the consumer products industry, TPEs are
used for toys, sports equipment, and household items.
Thermoplastic Elastomers Market Dynamics
Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
The thermoplastic elastomers market dynamics are primarily
driven by the recovery of the automotive sector and the rising penetration of
electric vehicles (EVs). The automotive industry has been facing declining
sales, changing regulatory scenarios, and a shift in consumer preferences
towards EVs. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the situation by leading
to a suspension of production operations and a decline in demand.
The continuous technological developments in the automotive
sector, particularly in Asian countries like China, India, Japan, and South
Asia, are expected to drive the demand for thermoplastic elastomers. Automotive
vehicle manufacturers are focused on reducing vehicle weight by replacing metal
parts such as iron and steel components with lightweight high-performance
elastomers to improve fuel economy, vehicle performance, and reduce CO2
emissions. Therefore, with the growth of the automotive industry worldwide, the
demand for thermoplastic elastomers is expected to increase during the forecast
Thermoplastic elastomers offer several high-performance
characteristics in EVs as compared to traditional metals, thermoset rubbers,
and other materials. The changing regulatory scenario and government policies
supporting EVs further boost the thermoplastic elastomers market. The
increasing consumer preference for high-performance and lightweight passenger
cars has also led to increased thermoplastics consumption in automotive
Thermoplastic elastomers exhibit superior physical and
chemical properties compared to thermoset plastics, thereby gaining preference
in terms of application. They are also eco-friendly, recyclable, and can be re-molded
and re-shaped, which eliminates wastage extensively. They offer various other
advantages, including resistance to chemicals, UV, and oxidation, and provide
soft-touch to materials. These properties are driving the replacement of rubber
and conventional plastic materials by TPEs in their respective applications.
Additionally, several federal bodies regulate TPE utilization for commercial
applications, providing guidelines for prudent product usage to ensure utmost
consumer health and safety.
Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) have a higher production
cost and complex manufacturing process compared to other materials such as PVC,
rubbers, polyethylene, and polyurethane. The process requires high-temperature devices
and technical expertise, making it a capital-intensive production process that
limits its use in high-end applications. Other materials such as compounding
grades of polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and
polyurethane are cheaper alternatives to TPEs, and their properties can be
developed to be similar to TPEs. As a result, TPEs are mainly used in
industries such as industrial machinery, building & construction, and
electronics, where they face competition from these cheaper alternatives.
The price of TPEs is also impacted by the fluctuating prices
of raw materials, which are mostly derived from crude oil. The increase in
crude oil prices due to the OPEC+ strategy and the Russia-Ukraine war has led
to an increase in the prices of raw materials worldwide. This has adversely
affected the profit margins of TPE products. Moreover, the U.S. Environment
Protection Agency has set guidelines regarding carbon emissions from automotive
vehicles, creating a corresponding demand for fuel-efficient cars and
industrial machinery made from TPE components.
The demand for TPEs is projected to increase further due to
the rapidly developing automobile markets. TPEs are expected to be used in
interiors, exteriors, sealing systems, and underhood components, creating new
opportunities for TPE manufacturers.
Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
The market for biobased thermoplastic elastomers is rapidly
emerging, with the material being developed from renewable resources like
vegetable oils and fatty acids. These elastomers are providing equivalent or
even better properties than traditional ones, making them an ideal material for
industries such as electronics, sporting goods, and footwear. The use of
biobased thermoplastic elastomers reduces the consumption of non-renewable
resources and promotes biodegradability. As a result, manufacturers are
innovating and commercializing biobased thermoplastic elastomers, creating new opportunities
for the industry.
Many synthetic thermoplastic elastomer manufacturers, such
as BASF and Lubrizol, have shifted their focus towards developing sustainable
and eco-friendly products. They have started producing biobased thermoplastic
elastomers for various industries such as footwear, automotive, industrial,
electronics, and textiles. Biopolymers like corn starch, wheat starch, poly
hydroxybutyrate (PHB), polylactide (PLA), castor oil, and palm oil are used to
manufacture biobased thermoplastic elastomers. R&D for the manufacturing of
biobased thermoplastic elastomers is creating an opportunity for manufacturers.
TPE is a lightweight material that is widely used in the
automotive industry to increase fuel efficiency by reducing car weight and
density. Regulatory bodies across various nations have imposed strict
regulations to reduce the impact of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases on
the environment and human health. The rapidly developing automobile markets are
projected to boost TPE demand in exterior, interiors, sealing systems, and
under-the-hood components. This increased application in the automotive
industry is spurred by demand for safe, lightweight, and inexpensive MUV/SUV
models with high fuel efficiency and emphasis on comfort and aesthetics.
Wearable electronics present opportunities for added
connectivity, enhanced productivity, and enriched lifestyles. Thermoplastic
elastomers offer superior performance qualities such as cleanliness, shock
absorption, flexibility, weather, chemical, and thermal resistance, easy
sterilization, and dimensional stability. As consumers become more aware of
these advantages, the demand for thermoplastic elastomers is expected to grow.
Additionally, the eco-friendliness, cheap energy costs in production, and ease
of molding, processing, and recycling are making thermoplastic elastomers more
popular, which will bolster the market growth.
The rising construction activities and infrastructural
development operations will further propel the growth rate of the thermoplastic
elastomers market. The increasing usage of thermoplastic elastomers in electric
vehicles will drive the market value growth. Rapid urbanization around the
world, combined with rising consumer disposable income, has resulted in
exponential growth of the vehicle industry, which in turn has fueled the growth
of the thermoplastic elastomers market.
Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
The thermoplastic elastomer market faces a challenge in the
intra-segment replacement of different types of thermoplastic elastomers. With
various types of thermoplastic elastomers available in the market, the
selection process can be complex, leading to a rise in the trend of simplifying
the process by focusing on specific types that can perform multiple functions,
resulting in decreased demand for other thermoplastic elastomers. This trend is
evident in the automotive industry where thermoplastic elastomers replace
costlier and heavier thermoplastic vulcanizates, such as the expected
replacement of thermoplastic polyolefin with PVC and thermoplastic polyurethane
films in automotive applications in the forecast period. This replacement in
the intra-thermoplastic elastomer segment poses a challenge to the overall
The market has seen growth in the development of unique
wearable and miniaturized electronics, where manufacturers are integrating
lightweight and sustainable materials like TPE to provide a soft-touch feel of
advanced materials into high-end consumer gadgets.
The increasing expenditure on healthcare and medical
facilities is expected to drive investments in medical devices and products
that use lightweight plastic materials such as TPE for packaging and other
applications, promoting weight savings in transportation and allowing hygienic
protection of the inner contents.
Various polymers are used to prepare thermoplastic
elastomers depending on the desired end-product. For example, TPE-S is a
two-block copolymer with SBS rubber as the base element, TPO is a blend of
polypropylene and un-crosslinked EPDM rubber, while TPV is made of the same
compounds with additional dynamic vulcanization.
Ecosystem of Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
The automotive industry accounted for the largest share in
the thermoplastic elastomers market in 2021 in terms of value. This is due to
the use of thermoplastic elastomers in several exterior body parts such as body
seals, exterior filler panels, wipers, automotive gaskets, door & window
handles, rocker panels, and vibration damping pads. The competition between
market players to provide lightweight vehicles, development of transportation
infrastructure, supportive government policies, robust auto parts, and rapid
economic growth are projected to increase the thermoplastic elastomers market
in the automotive industry.
Thermoplastic polyolefin accounted for the largest share in
the thermoplastic elastomers market in 2021 in terms of type. This material is
manufactured using techniques such as injection molding, profile extrusion,
thermoforming, and blow molding. It provides weather-resistant quality and is
non-degradable on exposure to solar radiation, making it ideal for outdoor
applications such as roofs, geomembrane insulation, and corrosion protection of
oil and gas pipelines.
In terms of volume, Styrene Block Copolymer accounted for
the largest share of the thermoplastic elastomer market. These high-performance
elastomers improve performance in several applications and are used to replace
ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and ethylene-propylene (EP) rubber in
various end-use industries. Poly styrenes held the largest revenue share of
over 39% in 2023, with increasing demand for SIS, particularly in China and
India, expected to drive segment growth over the next eight years.
The global consumption of TPE is expected to increase due to
its growing prominence in construction applications owing to its thermal and
acoustic insulation properties. The importance of energy efficiency in
buildings and subsequent regulatory policies aimed at zero-energy buildings are
expected to drive TPU demand in construction over the next eight years.
Additionally, the increasing consumption of TPE in automotive under-the-hood
applications and fascia systems is expected to be a major factor driving the
global TPE consumption.
During the forecast period, the Asia Pacific region is
expected to account for the largest share of the thermoplastic elastomers
market. The growth of the construction sector and the automotive industry are
the main drivers of demand for thermoplastic elastomers in this region. China
dominates the market, followed by Japan and South Korea, making Asia Pacific
the largest market for thermoplastic elastomers in 2021. Furthermore, this
region is projected to register a high compound annual growth rate (CAGR)
during the forecast period.
The automotive segment holds the largest revenue share of
over 43% in 2023. The usage of thermoplastic elastomers in the automotive
industry has increased significantly, especially for electronic and electrical
devices such as electric motor housings, seating and window mechanisms,
passenger airbags, and safety belt tensioners. Under-the-hood components also
utilize newly developed grades with enhanced hydrolytic stability.
Moreover, the electrical and electronics segment emerged as
the second-largest segment in 2021. Manufacturers are utilizing compounds with
electrical insulation properties and inherent high heat distortion temperatures
for components such as circuit breakers, switches, connectors, and housings in
the home appliance market. The telecommunications and IT sectors also use these
polymers in mobile phone casings to lower weight and foster miniaturization.
Advancements in injection molding and similar techniques are driving the demand
for stronger grades in the sector.
Overall, the Asia Pacific region's dominance in the
thermoplastic elastomers market is due to the high demand from the construction
and automotive industries, as well as the increasing adoption of these materials
in various electrical and electronic applications.
The global thermoplastic elastomers market has witnessed
several developments in recent years. One of the major developments is the
increasing demand for thermoplastic elastomers in various industries such as
automotive, building & construction, and electronics. The automotive
industry, in particular, has been a major contributor to the growth of the
thermoplastic elastomers market due to the increasing demand for lightweight
and fuel-efficient vehicles. Thermoplastic elastomers are widely used in
exterior body parts, such as body seals, wipers, gaskets, and vibration damping
pads, among others.
Another significant development in the thermoplastic
elastomers market is the increasing focus on sustainable and eco-friendly
products. Manufacturers are investing heavily in the development of bio-based
thermoplastic elastomers that are derived from renewable sources such as
vegetable oils and starch. These bio-based thermoplastic elastomers are gaining
popularity in various industries due to their eco-friendly and biodegradable
The market is also witnessing increasing demand for
thermoplastic elastomers with advanced properties such as improved strength,
durability, and resistance to heat and chemicals. To meet these demands,
manufacturers are investing in research and development activities to develop
advanced thermoplastic elastomers that can meet the specific needs of various
Dominating Companies in Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
- ARKEMA S.A.
- ASAHI KASEI CORPORATION
- BASF SE
- THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY
- COVESTRO AG
- HUNTSMAN CORPORATION
- EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION
- MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL HOLDINGS CORPORATION
- LUBRIZOL CORPORATION
- DUPONT DE NEMOURS, INC.
- DYNASOL ELASTOMERS
- CELANESE CORPORATION
- ZEON CORPORATION
- LYONDELLBASELL INDUSTRIES N.V.
- ALPHAGARY LIMITED
- WASHINGTON PENN
- HEXPOL AB
- NOBLE POLYMERS
- TEKNOR APEX COMPANY
Recent Developments in Thermoplastic Elastomers Market
In February 2020, Tekni-Plex, a leading manufacturer of
medical, pharmaceutical, and food packaging products, acquired Lameplast, an
Italian manufacturer of plastic single-dose packaging for pharmaceutical and
cosmetic applications. The acquisition is expected to enhance Tekni-Plex's
portfolio of medical and pharmaceutical packaging products, including
thermoplastic elastomer-based films and pouches.
In July 2019, US-based Teknor Apex Company, a global
provider of engineering thermoplastics, acquired German-based
Plastic-Technologie-Service (PTS), a leading supplier of custom-compounded
thermoplastic elastomers. The acquisition is expected to strengthen Teknor
Apex's position in the European market for thermoplastic elastomers.
In April 2019, Hexpol AB, a Swedish polymer compounding
company, announced the acquisition of Kirkhill Rubber Company, a US-based
manufacturer of high-performance rubber and silicone products. The acquisition
is expected to enhance Hexpol's product portfolio, which includes thermoplastic
elastomers, rubber compounds, and specialty polymers.
In October 2018, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, a subsidiary
of ExxonMobil Corporation, announced a partnership with Clariant, a Swiss
specialty chemical company, to develop new high-performance polymers. The
partnership is focused on developing new compounds and additives, including
thermoplastic elastomers, for use in automotive, electrical, and electronics
In September 2018, PolyOne Corporation, a global provider of
polymer materials and services, announced the acquisition of PlastiComp, a
leading manufacturer of long fiber thermoplastic composites. The acquisition is
expected to enhance PolyOne's portfolio of specialty polymer formulations,
including thermoplastic elastomers, and expand its presence in the automotive
and other high-performance markets.
In February 2022, Teknor Apex Company, a leading
manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomers and other plastic compounds, announced
that it had acquired Thermoplastic Vulcanizate (TPV) business from ExxonMobil
Chemical Company. This acquisition has strengthened Teknor Apex's position in
the TPV market and expanded its portfolio of TPE products.
In July 2021, Ravago Manufacturing, a leading distributor
and compounder of plastic and rubber materials, announced that it had acquired
Polymer Partners, LLC, a manufacturer of custom thermoplastic elastomer
compounds. This acquisition has expanded Ravago's portfolio of TPE products and
strengthened its position in the North American market.
In November 2020, Trinseo, a global materials solutions provider
and manufacturer of TPEs, announced that it had entered into a partnership with
AdvanSource Biomaterials Corporation, a developer of advanced polymer materials
for medical devices. This partnership has focused on developing new TPE-based
medical device solutions that offer improved safety and performance.
In September 2019, Kuraray Co., Ltd., a Japanese specialty
chemical company, announced that it had acquired the TPE business of German
company, Lotte Chemical Deutschland GmbH. This acquisition has expanded
Kuraray's global footprint in the TPE market and strengthened its position in
In March 2019, Celanese Corporation, a global chemical and
specialty materials company, announced that it had acquired the TPE compounder,
Next Polymers Ltd., based in India. This acquisition has expanded Celanese's
TPE product offerings and strengthened its position in the Asia-Pacific market.
In conclusion, TPEs are a versatile and popular material
used in a wide range of applications because of their unique properties and
characteristics. As technology continues to advance, the use of TPEs is
expected to grow, and new applications and uses will continue to emerge.