Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer which can be readily formed by catalytic polymerization of propylene. In foam form it is used for various applications such as packaging, automobile, construction, electrical and electronics, and medical industries. The polypropylene foam has witnessed an enormous growth in the past few decades and this trend is expected grow over the next few years. Growing demand from China’s packaging industry and increasing demand for light weight vehicles are expected to be the major drivers for the polypropylene foam market. In addition, growing demand for recyclable products coupled with excellent quality, durability, energy absorbing and innovative techniques is expected to augment the polypropylene foam market over the next few years.
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However, volatility of raw material prices and rising awareness regarding environmental issues may hamper the demand for polypropylene foam. This is because crude oil and natural gas are the major sources of primary feedstock required to manufacture polypropylene. Naphtha and ethylene are the basic raw materials from which propylene, a monomer of polypropylene, is manufactured. Hence, prices of crude oil and natural gas have a direct impact on the price of polypropylene. Shift towards developing bio-based polypropylene is anticipated to open new avenues for this market.
Packaging is expected to be a highly attractive application segment for the polypropylene market in the next few years. In addition, consumption of polypropylene foam in the automobile industry is expected to rise due to the growing demand for light weight vehicles which not only increases fuel efficiency, but also reduces cost and carbon emissions to a greater extent.
The demand for polypropylene is high in Asia Pacific, especially in food packaging, due to increasing population and changing lifestyles, as consumers are shifting towards easy-to-cook or ready-to-eat food. In addition, increasing number of nuclear families coupled with high disposable income has led to high demand for consumer products packed in smaller quantities. This is expected to boost the polypropylene foam market. In addition, Asia Pacific and Europe are expected to be the leading markets for polypropylene foam on account of the growing automobile industry in these regions.
Some of the key market players include Armacell, BASF, SSW PearlFoam GmbH, NMC Group, Pregis and Sekisui Alveo among others.
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