The increasing demand for replacement tires and other automotive components, rising need for long-lasting rubber, surging number of government initiatives to meet the demands for rubber, increasing production capacity of and investments by rubber manufacturers, and rapid industrialization are responsible for the growth of the global synthetic rubber market. Due to the aforementioned factors, the industry is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period (2021–2030).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of several countries implemented strict lockdowns, which led to the disruption of the supply chain and manufacturing activities in the synthetic rubber market. Moreover, the closing of end-use industries, such as automotive, due to the unavailability of raw materials, restrictions on import activities, and delay in trading operations and latex collection, the demand for synthetic rubber was severely impacted.
The synthetic rubber market is categorized into styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), polybutadiene rubber (BR), styrene block copolymer (SBC), ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM), butyl rubber (IIR), and acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR), on the basis of product type. Out of these, the SBR category held the largest share in the market in 2020, and it is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the abrasion resistance of SBR, which is highly desirable in the building and construction, footwear, and healthcare industries.
The synthetic rubber market is categorized into tire, non-tire automotive, footwear, industrial components, adhesives & sealants, paints & coatings, and others, on the basis of application. Out of these, the tire category held the largest market share in 2020, and it is expected to witness substantial growth during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the increasing demand for replacement tires due to the surging sales of four-wheelers and two-wheelers.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific (APAC) was the largest market for synthetic rubber, both in terms of volume and value, in 2020, owing to the increasing demand for synthetic rubber in the construction and tire industries. Global automobile manufacturers are establishing their production plants in APAC countries to enhance their market presence in the region. Presently, the automotive sector in China is growing with the strong focus on clean vehicles, which is, in turn, propelling the synthetic rubber market in the region.
In recent years, players in the global synthetic rubber industry have launched several products in order to attain a significant position. For instance, in April 2019, a new type of synthetic rubber was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute. It is said to be 30–50% less abrasive than natural rubber. The initial testing of tires made from biomimetic synthetic rubber BISYKA showed that they were less abrasive than those made from natural rubber.
Some of the key players operating in the synthetic rubber market are LANXESS AG, The Dow Chemical Company, Denka Company Ltd., Kumho Petrochemical Co., Ltd., JSR Corporation, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., and Bridgestone Corporation.