MRO Magazine

World bearing demand to reach $66 billion in 2012

Cleveland, OH -- Global demand for ball, roller and plain bearings is forecast to climb 6.4% annually through 2012 ...


September 2, 2008
By MRO Magazine


Cleveland, OH — Global demand for ball, roller and plain bearings is forecast to climb 6.4% annually through 2012 to US$66 billion. Market gains will be driven by ongoing economic growth, higher manufacturing output, greater fixed investment activity and rising motor vehicle production.

The aftermarket will be limited to some extent by increases in average bearing life. However, growing demand for more expensive, better-performing units will provide a counterbalance, supported in part by high energy prices, which are making highly efficient bearings a more attractive investment.

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

Product demand in developing parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa/Mideast and Latin America will outpace sales in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan through 2012, the study predicts.


Market advances in developing areas will be fuelled by healthy economic growth, ongoing industrialization efforts and rising personal income levels, bolstering manufacturing output and fixed investment expenditures.

China, which recently surpassed the U.S. to become the largest national market for bearings, will account for 48% of all additional demand through 2012. India and Russia will also record strong gains, while increases in bearing demand in Brazil will approximate the global average.

Sales growth is expected to be healthy as well in a number of lower-volume markets, including Thailand and Indonesia.

Bearing demand in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan will rise as well. Advances will be spurred by largely favourable economic climates and higher per capita income, resulting in increased manufacturing activity and consumer spending for durable goods.

Although representing mature markets, these areas — along with Australia and Canada — will remain the most intensive users of bearing products because of the advanced industrial and technological nature of their economies.

The large numbers of bearing-containing equipment in use will also help bolster aftermarket bearing demand.

Bearings used in non-automotive, non-industrial machinery settings will post the most robust sales gains through 2012, benefiting from the favourable outlook for a number of products included here. Industrial machinery bearing demand is also expected to be healthy, stimulated by increases in global manufacturing activity, helping to spur associated fixed investment expenditures.

World Bearings (published 08/2008, 401 pages) is available for US$5,700. For further details, visit