Tire rubber most important growth driver
The most important driver of demand for specialty silicas is the tire rubber market. This is the largest single market for specialty silicas, accounting for about 30 percent of demand in 2015. The tire rubber market was also the fastest growing over the 2010-2015 period and is forecast to continue holding this distinction through 2020.
According to World Specialty Silicas, a new report from The Freedonia Group, demand for specialty silicas in tire rubber has been fueled by the rising adoption of green tires. Use of specialty silicas in tires improves fuel efficiency by reducing rolling resistance and also enhances performance features such as handling and traction. By 2020, green tires are forecast to represent more than 40 percent of all tires produced worldwide. Adoption of green tires has been aided by the introduction of tire labeling regulations in several countries. These regulations improve the performance qualities of tires, thus increasing the efficiency of tires.
Asia/Pacific fastest growing region
The Asia/Pacific region holds the largest share of the global specialty silicas market, representing nearly half of total demand in 2015. The Asia/Pacific region has also been the fastest growing in recent years. India, Indonesia, and China are projected to be the three fastest growing national markets for specialty silicas through 2020. Even several of the Asia/Pacific region's more economically mature countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan, will post strong gains in specialty silica demand as consumption in the tire industry rises.
Freedonia Group projects that growth in demand for specialty silicas in North America and Western Europe will trail the world average through 2020, reflecting the maturity of manufacturing industries throughout these regions. However, significant potential for increased specialty silica demand in tires still remains in both North America and Western Europe.TheAfrica/Mideast region is forecast to post above average gains in specialty silica demand through 2020, albeit from a small base.
Precipitated silica most common
Precipitated silica is the most common type in large part because it is the only form utilized in the tire industry. Because of the expected fast growth in the tire market, precipitated silica is forecast to be the fastest growing product type through 2020. In particular, the most rapid growth will be for a subset of precipitated silica known as "highly dispersible silica" (HDS). HDS products are typically designed specifically for use in green tires. The other three types of specialty silicas are all forecast for growth rates within half a percent of each other.