Growth in the global markets for rubber tires and retreads, hoses and belting, sealants and other rubber-based products is speeding up, according to research by The Business Research Company’s recent report Rubber Products Manufacturing Market Global Briefing 2017. Rising at 3.5% annually to 2016, when it was worth $411 billion, the market is now expanding at over 5% a year and will be worth $507 billion by 2020. Tires are the biggest-selling products, accounting for nearly three-fifths of the market and worth $240 billion in 2016.
Asia is both the biggest and the fastest-growing region for the rubber products market, accounting for 40% of the total in 2016 and currently growing at 5% year on year. Within Asia, it is China that dominates, being worth by itself 17% of the global total. However, India’s market, though much smaller, worth only 6% of the total, is rising faster than China’s, at nearly 10% a year. The character of the Asian market, however, is changing, as the March 2015 purchase of Pirelli by China’s ChemChem shows. This acquisition was aimed at giving Chemchem access to the technology to make premium tires for the Chinese market.
Bridgestone, Michelin, Good Year, ChemChem and Yokohama Rubber are the big five manufacturers in the market, with shares adding up to 20% of the global total in 2016.
Computer simulation and 3D printing technology are having a significant impact on the rubber products manufacturing industry. For example, software-aided systems offer 3D presentations on production line processes, including potential fault lines and also provide control over the manufacturing process. 3D printing technologies allow manufacturers to produce automotive tires that can be customized to different levels of hardness and elongation. Again, in March 2016, Goodyear introduced the Eagle-360, a 3D-printed spherical tire that promises to provide 360 degree motion.