US demand to rise 3.8% annually through 2018
Demand for coated fabrics in the US is projected to advance 3.8 percent per year to 725 million square yards in 2018, an acceleration from sluggish gains posted during the 2008 to 2013 period. Rebounding construction expenditures will provide opportunities for coated fabrics used in products that are closely tied to building activity, such as wallcoverings, furniture, and awnings and canopies. In value terms, demand for coated fabrics is forecast to increase five percent per year to $4 billion in 2018, benefiting from an acceleration in area demand as well as moderate price increases. However, pricing gains will be limited due to increased competition from lower cost imports.
Key motor vehicle market to see accelerating growth
The largest market for coated fabrics in 2013 was motor vehicles, with 30 percent of the total, benefiting from the large number of light vehicles that are produced in the US each year. Going forward, growth will accelerate from a high 2013 base that reflects a recovery in vehicle production. Still, advances will be propelled by the increased incorporation of polyvinyl-coated and polyurethanecoated fabrics in upholstery and interior trim in light vehicles. In these applications, coated fabrics are aided by continued improvements in appearance and feel, placing further competitive pressures on alternative materials. Gains will also be promoted by a higher number of airbags per light truck and van through the forecast period. Silicone-coated fabrics are typically used in the manufacture of airbags.
Coated polyester to continue as leading substrate
Coated fabrics are categorized based on the substrate or coating used. Versions with polyester substrates accounted for approximately 45 percent of total US coated fabric demand in 2013. These substrates are valued for their versatility at a relatively low cost. While used in a variety of markets, three markets (motor vehicles, industrial, and furniture) account for approximately half of coated polyester sales. Above-average gains in the furniture market will provide opportunities. In addition, demand for coated polyester will benefit from its use in other above-average growth markets, such as wallcoverings, and awnings and canopies.
Polymer-coated fabrics remain dominant products
Polymer-coated fabrics dominated coated fabric demand in 2013, and will continue to do so through 2018. Within this category, vinyl-coated fabrics account for the largest share -- 40 percent -- of demand. Going forward, vinyl-coated fabrics will retain their significant position due to their adequate performance characteristics provided at a relatively low cost. Among the major types of polymercoated fabrics, polyurethane-coated fabrics are expected to post the fastest gains through 2018. Improvements in polyurethane coatings, particularly in their appearance and feel when cured, will boast opportunities. The rubbercoated fabrics product category is much smaller, but growth will benefit from the usage of silicone varieties in the large market for airbags. Advances will be fastest for fabric-backed wallcoverings, which will recover in line with the rebound in the building construction sector, especially in the institutional and office segments where these wallcoverings find significant use.
Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.Download eBook