US demand to rise 5.6% annually through 2016
US demand for nonwovens is forecast to rise 5.6 percent per year to $7.4 billion in 2016, benefiting from an acceleration in area demand. In area terms, demand for nonwovens is expected to climb 2.2 percent per year to 34.3 billion square yards. Renewed economic growth, along with rising manufacturing output and rebounding construction activity, will provide opportunities for nonwovens. The best opportunities are in nondisposable applications such as roofing, house wrap, motor vehicles, and carpets and rugs. Further gains will be limited as the US represents a mature market for a number of disposable goods using nonwovens, including baby diapers. Competition from alternative materials will also prohibit nonwovens demand from expanding at a faster rate.
Disposable nonwovens to remain dominant market
Despite below average gains, disposable nonwovens markets will continue to account for nearly two-thirds of nonwoven demand through 2016. Consumer products will remain the largest disposable nonwoven market. Although growth will be restricted by below average advances in baby diaper and feminine hygiene markets, growth will be supported by gains in the adult incontinence market, which is buoyed by the aging US population. Demand in the filtration market will see the most rapid gains, as nonwovens continue to take market share from other materials such as paper and woven fabrics. Although the medical market for nonwovens is relatively mature, demand will benefit from the strengthening of surgical infection control safeguards, which will boost demand for single use nonwoven products.
Nondisposables to provide best growth opportunities
Nondisposables comprised 29 percent of nonwovens sales in 2011. Construction -- the largest nondisposable market -- will post above average gains, fueled by robust growth in residential construction, providing opportunities for nonwovens in house wraps. Carpets and rugs, and motor vehicles are also expected to achieve above average growth through 2016, partially due to an improvement in manufacturing output of these products as the US continues to recover from the 2007- 2009 recession. In addition, nonwovens in both of these outlets will benefit from increased market penetration at the expense of competing materials. In motor vehicles, nonwovens are finding greater use due to their ability to be made in lower basis weights without losing performance characteristics.
Spunmelt nonwovens to remain dominant segment
Spunmelt nonwovens (spunbonded and meltblown) will remain the largest product segment, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total value in 2016. Spunmelt owes its position to spunbonded’s widespread use in large markets such as baby diapers. Gains in spunbonded nonwovens will benefit from increased penetration of markets now served by competing nonwovens or other classes of materials. Meltblown nonwovens will benefit from greater use in the filtration market. However, further growth will be limited by meltblown’s relatively high cost, as well as performance disadvantages such as lower web strength when used as a single web structure. Carded nonwovens are the second largest product segment, accounting for roughly a quarter of total value in 2016. Spunlaced carded nonwovens will experience the best opportunities in markets such as personal care wipes and medical products, where consumer comfort is key.
US Demand for Nonwovens to Exceed $7 Billion in 2016
Demand for nonwovens is forecast to rise 5.7 percent per year to $7.1 billion in 2016, benefiting from an acceleration in area demand and an increase in the average price that stems in part from a shift in the product mix toward higher value nonwovens. The market mix will further fuel pricing gains as heavier, more expensive nonwovens are more prevalent in the nondisposables markets, many of which are expected to achieve more rapid gains through 2016 compared to the disposables markets. Renewed economic growth, along with rising manufacturing output and rebounding construction activity, will provide opportunities for nonwovens. Further gains will be limited by the maturity of a number of disposable goods markets for nonwovens, including baby diapers. These and other trends are presented in Nonwovens, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Through 2016, the fastest growth for nonwovens will be in the nondisposables markets where demand will accelerate from a reduced 2011 base. Nonwovens demand in most nondisposables markets was sharply impacted by the 2007 to 2009 recession, marked by declines in construction activity and motor vehicle production, and reductions in manufacturing levels of many durable goods. Construction -- the largest nondisposables market for nonwovens -- will post double-digit gains, fueled by a recovery in building construction, providing opportunities for nonwovens in house wraps, roofing products, and geotextiles. Improved construction spending will also promote nonwovens growth in carpets and rugs, the market which is projected to post the fastest gains, nearly doubling by 2016.
Disposables markets will continue to account for the largest share of sales, representing 68 percent of nonwovens demand in 2016. Sales will benefit from nonwovens’ high market penetration in disposable consumer products, which accounted for one-third of the total disposables market in 2011. Among disposables markets, the fastest growth is expected for filters, with nonwovens gaining market share at the expense of paper and woven fabrics.
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