The AVK - Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V., Frankfurt/Germany, has published its annual market report on fiber-reinforced plastics/composites. After a long period of growth from 2013-2018, the corona pandemic, which has been ongoing since February 2020, as well as other negative effects have had a strong impact not only on the economy as a whole, but also on the industry and the composites market. European composites production volume had declined by more than 15% in 2018-2020. In 2021, this trend was significantly reversed and could almost catch up with pre-crisis levels again. With an increase of 5.3%, this was significantly higher than the overall economic development in the EU, and the market dynamics for composites in Europe were also higher than in the global market.
According to the latest figures from the JEC Group, Paris/France, the volume of the global composites market totaled 12.1 million tons in 2021. The European composites production volume increased by 18.3%. The total European composites market thus comprises a volume of 2,962 tons.
Europe's share of the world market is around 25%, similar to that of the USA. Asia now accounts for around 50% of global production.
In terms of volume, the largest share of total composites production is used in the transportation sector, which accounts for over 50% of the market volume, followed by the construction sector with 18.7% and the electro/electronics sector with 18.4%.
In Europe, thermoplastic composites account for a total volume of 1,66 million tons (source: AMAC) and thus have a market share of 57% of the total European market.
An outlook on possible future scenarios for the economic development and the development of the composites market in Europe is currently extremely difficult to predict due to global economic and political developments. The energy turnaround in Germany is currently being pushed strongly and with it the demand for new forms of energy and their expansion. Wind energy plays a central role in this, particularly in Germany, but also in other European countries. The topic of mobility is closely linked to the topic of energy supply. The prices of petrol and diesel have risen enormously in recent months. However, the expansion of the charging infrastructure also offers many opportunities for composite materials. Durability, freedom from maintenance and weather resistance are important keywords here that speak for increased use in this area.
The corona pandemic also had a major impact. Within the composites industry, the transportation sector in particular was hit hard. The aerospace industry has almost completely collapsed in some areas and is only slowly recovering.
Almost all sectors are currently struggling with enormously high raw material and logistics prices.