MARKET TRENDS: Resin Demand Rises

October 1, 2006
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Polyurethane resin demand to reach 7.6 billion pounds in 2009.

Advances will be paced by opportunities in bedding, a mature market that has been revitalized by the success of viscoelastic (memory) foam.

Photo courtesy of Marriott International.

Polyurethane resin demand in the United States is projected to rise 2.8% yearly to 7.6 billion pounds in 2009. Expansion will be driven by opportunities in the construction market based on growing demand for building insulation, adhesives and coatings. Flexible and rigid polyurethane foams will remain dominant, together accounting for nearly two-thirds of all polyurethane demand.

Thermoplastic polyurethane will present the best growth prospects in industrial and motor vehicle uses such as gaskets, seals, and hoses. The industry will also benefit from product innovations that permit product differentiation, greater end-user comfort and enhanced performance, with more environmentally friendly characteristics. Resin prices will grow at a slower rate due to moderating raw material prices, which will recede from the price spikes experienced in 2004 and 2005.

These and other trends are presented in Polyurethane, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Demand for flexible polyurethane foam will increase 1.9% annually to 2.6 billion pounds in 2009. Advances will be paced by opportunities in bedding, a mature market that has been revitalized by the success of viscoelastic (memory) foam. Further advances will be threatened by maturity in markets such as furniture and textiles; increased furniture and textile imports; and declines in residential building construction.

Rigid polyurethane foam demand will grow at a 3.4% annual rate to 2.4 billion pounds in 2009, benefiting from its high thermal efficiency in building, tank and pipe insulation uses. Other leading polyurethane uses include coatings, adhesives and sealants, elastomers, and binders. Coating gains will be stimulated by increased use of environmentally friendly polyurethane-based powder coatings.

Construction markets will account for 36% of all polyurethane use. Growth will result from heightened energy efficiency standards, needs for better-performing and lower-cost materials, and rebounding nonresidential building construction. Significantly slower growth is anticipated in household products, due to saturated applications in furniture, textiles and carpet underlay, as well as heightened offshore competition. Bedding will provide the best growth prospects based on inroads made by full-foam mattresses. Transportation equipment markets will be stimulated by needs for higher levels of comfort and safety in seating and other motor vehicle uses.

For more information, contact Corinne Gangloff, The Freedonia Group Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326; phone (440) 684-9600; fax (440) 646-0484; e-mail < ; or visit .


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