Global demand for nonwovens is forecast to rise 5.4% annually to 9.1 million metric tons in 2017, according to The Freedonia Group. Nonwovens demand in the developed areas of the world, including the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe, is projected to grow at a rate of 2.4% per year, an improvement from the declines of the 2007-2012 period but still well below the global average. Nonwovens demand in developing areas of the world is expected to increase 7.2% per year through 2017. Spunmelt nonwovens accounted for 48% of global sales in 2012 and are projected to post the most rapid gains through 2017. Growth will benefit from increased production in key markets such as personal hygiene products. These and other trends are presented in, "World Nonwovens," a new market report from the Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional market for nonwovens in 2012, with 41% of the global total the report says. Growth will be driven in large part by China, which will account for 46% of global gains through 2017. Manufacturing capacity for products that consume significant amounts of nonwovens continues to expand throughout the country. Like China, India is expected to see strong gains as it continues to rapidly develop its manufacturing and construction sectors.
In 2012, North America and Western Europe each accounted for roughly 20% of the global nonwovens market. Demand growth in these regions is expected to rebound from the declines of the 2007-2012 period, which was marked by drops in manufacturing and construction activity. Gains will benefit from economic improvement and a rebound in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and the Africa/Mideast region each accounted for less than 10% of the global nonwovens market in 2012. Central and South America will post the fastest growth of any region, due to favorable growth in the domestic, as well as export market. The nonwovens industries in key export-related countries—Brazil, Russia, and Egypt—continue to rapidly develop with growing investment from both domestic and foreign multinational companies. However, Egypt’s market could be limited as political and social unrest has the potential to disrupt plant operations and distribution channels.