South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market SIZE AND SHARE ANALYSIS - GROWTH TRENDS AND FORECASTS (undefined)

South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market is Segmented By Product Type (Boxes, Protective packaging, Mailers, Tapes, Labels, Others), By Application (Automotive Parts, Wires and Cables, Coating, Adhesive & Sealant, Paving & Roofing, Housewares & Appliances, Others), By End-use Industry (Building & Construction, Automotive, Packaging, Footwear, Consumer Electronics, Others). The report offers the value (in USD million) for the above-mentioned segments.

South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Size

Market Size in USD


Study Period2024 - 2031
Base Year of Estimation2023
Market ConcentrationHigh
Major PlayersBASF SE, Huntsman International LLC, DowDuPont Inc., Arkema Group, Asahi Kasei Corporation
*Disclaimer: Major players are listed in no particular order.
*Source: Coherent Market Insights
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South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Analysis

South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market size is expected to reach US$ 1,238.9 Mn by 2031, from US$ 743 Mn in 2023, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.6% during the forecast period. The thermoplastic elastomer market in South Korea has been witnessing steady growth over the past few years. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), also known as thermoplastic rubbers, are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers that consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. TPEs can be repeatedly softened and reformed by increasing temperature above a specific point known as glass transition temperature, unlike conventional vulcanized rubbers.

South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Drivers

  • Growth in medical devices industry: The medical devices industry in South Korea has seen significant expansion in recent years, with government priorities and investments promoting advanced manufacturing capabilities and innovation. As new technologies for implants, prosthetics, surgical, tools and diagnostic equipment are increasingly utilizing thermoplastic elastomers for their biocompatibility and processing advantages, demand for these materials from medical device OEMs and contract manufacturers has surged. Leading global medtech companies have established operations in South Korea to leverage the skilled workforce and strong manufacturing infrastructure. This is driving considerable appetite for specialized thermoplastic elastomers among their supplier base to meet rigorous quality and regulatory standards.
  • Rising footwear industry: The footwear industry in South Korea has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, primarily due to rising exports. This was driven by strong demand from key importing countries such as the U.S., China, and Vietnam. Footwear manufacturing requires thermoplastic elastomers to make shoe parts that need to be flexible yet durable. Properties like flexibility, abrasion resistance, and high tensile strength make thermoplastic elastomers an ideal material for designing shoe soles, heels, and inner linings. With increased shoe production in South Korea, demand for thermoplastic elastomers from the footwear industry has grown substantially.

South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Restraints

  • Availability of substitutes: South Korea thermoplastic elastomer market is facing strong growth restraints due to the abundant availability of substitutes. Thermoplastic elastomers are primarily used in automotive, construction, and industrial applications where they are replaced with conventional elastomers like rubber and plastic. Rubber remains the preferred material for numerous high pressure and wear applications like hoses, belts, tires, etc. due to its excellent elastic properties. Similarly, engineered plastics are widely replacing thermoplastic elastomers in durable goods due to their superior mechanical strength. For instance, according to Korea International Trade Association, South Korea's plastic product exports grew by over 12% year-on-year in 2021 to reach US$ 35 billion, indicating strong demand and growth prospects for plastic substitutes.
  • Volatility in raw material prices: The volatility in raw material prices is posing a significant challenge for the growth of the thermoplastic elastomer market in South Korea. Thermoplastic elastomers are primarily derived from crude oil and natural gas. Therefore, fluctuations in global crude oil and natural gas prices have a direct impact on the key raw material prices for thermoplastic elastomers such as styrene, butadiene, and propylene. Over the past year, crude oil and natural gas prices have seen significant swings due to various economic and geopolitical factors. For instance, between (January 2020 to March 2022), the price of Brent crude oil fluctuated between a low of US$ 16 per barrel to a high of US$ 139 per barrel according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Such wild swings make it extremely difficult for thermoplastic elastomer producers to forecast raw material costs and set competitive product prices. Any sudden rise in crude oil and natural gas prices directly increases production costs for thermoplastic elastomers. The producers may have to raise product prices to maintain margins.

South Korea Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Opportunity

  • Development of bio-based thermoplastic elastomers: The thermoplastic elastomer market in South Korea has been witnessing steady growth over the past few years. However, market players are now focusing on developing more sustainable and eco-friendly products to cater to the rising environmental consciousness among consumers. This presents a huge opportunity for bio-based thermoplastic elastomers which are derived from renewable plant-based resources rather than fossil fuels. Bio-based thermoplastic elastomers offer several advantages over conventional petroleum-based versions. They have a smaller carbon footprint and can help reduce plastic waste pollution. As South Korea aims to tackle climate change and become carbon neutral by 2050, promoting the use of bio-plastics in different industries could be a major step towards this goal.
  • Growth in 3D printing applications: The rapid advancement of 3D printing technology in recent years provides a great opportunity to drive growth in South Korea's thermoplastic elastomer market. 3D printing applications require specialized thermoplastic elastomers with properties like elasticity, durability and resistance to chemicals and heat. As South Korean companies increasingly adopt 3D printing for applications like rapid prototyping, customized fabrication and spare parts production, the demand for high performance thermoplastic elastomers compatible with different 3D printing processes will significantly increase.

Analyst View Point:

The South Korean thermoplastic elastomer market is expected to experience steady growth over the coming years. Some of the key drivers for the market's growth include increased demand from the automotive industry and expansion of domestic automotive production. As one of the world’s leading automotive exporters, growth in vehicle production will likely drive volume demand for thermoplastic elastomers used in applications such as hoses, seals, and door seals.

Additionally, growing electronics and electrical industries will propel market growth. Thermoplastic elastomers find wide application in wire and cable insulation requiring resistance to heat, chemicals, and abrasion. Rising electronics exports from South Korea are poised to boost demand. Another opportunity lies in the medical sector where thermoplastic elastomers are finding increasing use in devices and implants owing to their flexibility, durability and lack of toxicity.

However, high prices of specialty thermoplastic elastomers may limit broader adoption. Also, fluctuations in crude oil prices pose risks as they have a bearing on raw material costs. The Seoul Capital Area dominates thermoplastic elastomer consumption in South Korea owing to the high concentration of automotive OEMs and part manufacturers. Usage is also increasing in Busan, Ulsan, and Daegu driven by growing automotive, electronics and shipbuilding industries in these regions.