MRO Magazine

Global demand for industrial rubber products to rise 6.6% annually to 2018


January 5, 2015
By Bill Roebuck

Cleveland, OH – Global demand for industrial rubber products is projected to rise a healthy 6.6% annually to US$158 billion in 2018. Sales will be fuelled by an acceleration in fixed investment expenditures and expanding durable goods output as world economic conditions improve.

Also contributing to value gains will be a shift in the product mix toward more expensive, better-performing items. However, competition from alternative materials (primarily plastics) in some applications will limit the overall pace of market growth through 2018, as will the use of improved designs and higher-quality rubber materials, which will reduce aftermarket component requirements.

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

“China will post the strongest gains of any national market in value terms,” stated analyst Ken Long, “In fact, more than half of all additional product demand through 2018 will be accounted for by China.”


Market advances in the country will be stimulated by robust economic growth, ongoing increases in business investment spending, strong gains in manufacturing output, and healthy levels of motor vehicle production and sales. India, a considerably smaller but still large industrial rubber goods market, will also record large annual percentage increases, with demand forecast to rise 11% annually through 2018. A number of smaller national markets — including Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, and Brazil — are expected to register healthy sales advances as well.

Industrial rubber product demand is projected to climb at more moderate rates in the US and Western Europe, supported by renewed strength in gross fixed investment and growth in durable goods output. Product sales in Japan will rebound from recent declines, but market gains will be well below the world average, limited by generally sluggish increases in durable goods activity and further decreases in motor vehicle output. Demand growth in Eastern Europe will be stronger than during the 2008-2013 period but not as robust as market performance in other developing areas because investment expenditures and durable goods production will not rise as rapidly, due in part to subpar economic gains in neighbouring Western Europe, which represents a major export market for many East European manufacturers.

World Industrial Rubber Products (published 12/2014, 449 pages) is available for US$6,300 from The Freedonia Group at