United States Thermoplastic Elastomer Market SIZE AND SHARE ANALYSIS - GROWTH TRENDS AND FORECASTS (undefined)

United States Thermoplastic Elastomer Market is Segmented By Product Type (Styrenic Block Copolymer, Thermoplastic Polyolefin, Thermoplastic Polyurethane, Thermoplastic Polyester, Thermoplastic Polyamide, Thermoplastic Vulcanizate, Organo-fluorine Elastomers, Polyester Ether Elastomer, Others), By Application (Automotive, Wires & Cables, Solar Energy, Building & Construction, Adhesives, Sealants & Coatings, Footwear, Consumer Goods, Medical & Healthcare, Others). The report offers the value (in USD Billion) for the above-mentioned segments

United States Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Trends

Market Driver – Growing Demand for Lightweight and High-Performance Materials

The growing demand for lightweight and high-performance materials across various industries such as automotive, construction and aerospace are one of the major factors driving the growth of thermoplastic elastomer market in the United States. Thermoplastic elastomers possess properties of both thermoplastics and elastomers which make them an ideal material for applications requiring flexibility, impact resistance and strength.

Compared to conventional materials, thermoplastic elastomers are much lighter in weight while providing equal or improved mechanical performances. For example, thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers are 25% lighter than standard rubber materials. The automotive industry has been focusing on developing lighter vehicles with improved fuel economy to meet stringent emission norms. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, light weight vehicle material adoption increased by over 12% between 2020-2021 which helped improve the average fuel economy of new vehicles in the US by 6%. This rising focus on lightweight materials is driving the use of thermoplastic elastomers in various automotive component manufacturing like bumpers, door seals and grills.

Market Driver – Increasing Adoption in Medical and Healthcare Applications

The medical and healthcare industry in the United States has seen tremendous growth over the past few years and is expected to continue on an upward trajectory. Thermoplastic elastomers are being increasingly utilized in various medical devices and applications due to their desirable properties such as flexibility, durability and biocompatibility. Properties such as high alternated flexural endurance make TPEs suitable for applications that require repetitive flexing or compression like flexible tubing, catheters and wound care products. Their heat weldability also allows for manufacturing efficiencies and cost savings.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 65 million Americans underwent medical procedures involving surgical instruments, disposable devices and implants in 2019. This demand for single-use medical supplies and devices has surged further during the COVID-19 pandemic with the increased need for ventilators, oxygen masks and other respiratory equipment. Thermoplastic elastomers played a crucial role in manufacturing these time-critical products due to their processing advantages over other materials.

Market Challenge – High Cost of Thermoplastic Elastomer Materials

The high cost of thermoplastic elastomer materials is one of the major restraining factors for the growth of the United States thermoplastic elastomer market. Thermoplastic elastomers are engineered polymers that have both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. They have advantages like recyclability, design flexibility, durability, and ease of production over conventional thermoset rubber. However, thermoplastic elastomers are more expensive to produce as compared to normal thermoplastics due to their complex molecular structure and production processes involved.

The high costs of raw materials needed for the production of thermoplastic elastomers like styrenic block copolymers, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic olefin etc. further drive up their prices. According to the United States International Trade Commission, import prices of US styrenic block copolymers increased from $2.12/kg in January 2020 to $2.38/kg in January 2022. Similarly, US import prices of thermoplastic polyurethanes grew from $3.78/kg to $4.23/kg during the same period. The prices of propylene, ethylene and crude oil - key feedstocks for thermoplastic production also witnessed a significant rise in the last two years due to supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic further escalating thermoplastic elastomer costs.

United States Thermoplastic Elastomer Market Key Market

Market Opportunity – Growing Demand for Bio-based Thermoplastic Elastomers

The growing demand for bio-based and sustainable materials is a major opportunity for the thermoplastic elastomer market in the United States. Traditionally, most thermoplastic elastomers have been derived from petroleum-based ingredients. However, with increased environmental awareness and sustainability goals, brands and consumers alike are seeking out alternatives that have a lower carbon footprint.

Bio-based thermoplastic elastomers, which are either partially or fully derived from renewable plant and agricultural sources, allow manufacturers to formulate more environmentally-friendly products. Several new formulations are emerging that utilize bio-based components such as corn, soy, sugarcane or cellulose within the polymer structure. As these require fewer fossil fuels during production and have reduced end-of-life emissions once discarded, they meet the criteria of being more sustainable. Many global organizations have also encouraged the development of bio-economy and circular bio-based industries. According to a report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), bio-based economies could potentially contribute to 7-8% of global manufacturing output by 2030.

The automotive, consumer goods and medical industries have been early adopters of bio-based thermoplastic elastomers. For example, BASF has partnered with several automakers to develop bio-based TPUs that are compiled into interior trims and other automobile components.