U.S. silicones demand to approach $3.7 billion in 2008

The medical market for silicones will achieve strong gains, such as in the expanding transdermals market.
Demand for silicones in the United States is forecast to increase 6% per year to nearly $3.7 billion in 2008. These low-volume, relatively high-priced materials are used in an extensive number of applications due to performance characteristics such as high heat resistance, chemical resistance and water repellence. Growth will be driven by intense product development activities and a favorable environmental profile compared to competitive materials. In addition, gains will be promoted by an acceleration in production levels of key durable goods, such as aerospace equipment, electronic components and industrial machinery.

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

Among silicone products, silicone gels are projected to achieve the strongest gains, benefiting from a recovery in electronic component shipments from a weak 2003 performance. Silicone foams and other products will also achieve above-average gains, partially arising from favorable opportunities in various transportation segments. Demand for silicone fluid, the largest category, will be boosted by expanding applications in the cosmetic and toiletry markets. Consumer preferences for higher-end, branded products will promote greater use of silicone in formulated personal care items such as shampoo, hair styling products, sun-care lotions and skin-care lotions.

Average gains are forecast for the resin and elastomer product segments. Silicone resins are gaining market share over acrylic resins in masonry coatings. Increased demand for high-heat-resistant coatings will promote silicone resin use. In the elastomer segment, the strongest gains are projected for liquid silicone elastomers, which will benefit from their versatility. Silicones find use across a range of markets that can be categorized as industrial, consumer, construction and medical. Of these, the medical market will achieve the strongest gains, benefiting from the aging U.S. population (where medical devices that consume silicone will likely be used more often) and expanding applications (e.g., silicone adhesives in transdermal drug delivery systems and silicone elastomers in contact lenses, as well as the anticipated return of silicone-gel-filled breast implants to the U.S. market).

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 pr@freedoniagroup.com; or visit http://www.freedoniagroup.com.