U.S. demand for fluoropolymers is forecast to increase 5.3% annually to $2.4 billion in 2016, with volume totaling 198 million pounds. Advances will be spurred by an improving economic outlook, which will drive industrial output and boost construction activity. While market value gains will only slightly outpace those of the 2006-2011 period, growth in volume terms is projected to accelerate considerably. This is because the challenging economic environment associated with the 2007-2009 recession held down market volume during the 2006-2011 period while strong increases in pricing during the latter portion of the period propped up value gains. Going forward, the situation is expected to reverse, with growth in market value stemming mainly from expanding volume demand, rather than rising price levels. Gains in market value will also benefit from trends favoring higher performing fluoropolymer resins as end-users seek better cost-benefit ratios. These and other trends are presented in "Fluoropolymers," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is forecast to maintain its position as the leading product in both volume and value terms through 2016. Demand will benefit from widespread use in the large industrial processing market and expanding opportunities in emerging applications such as chemical processing and industrial filtration. However, the most robust gains are forecast for polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). PVF demand will rise rapidly from a relatively small base, fueled by stellar growth in the photovoltaic module segment despite greater competition from less expensive alternative materials. PVDF will capture a greater share of the market, advancing strongly through 2016 based on rebounding growth in the architectural coating segment, as well as rising use in electronics, particularly advanced batteries.
The industrial processing market will remain the largest outlet through the forecast period, benefiting from tightening performance requirements. Faster gains are anticipated in the construction and electrical and electronics markets. Fluoropolymer use in architectural coatings will continue to rise due to superior performance characteristics. Above average advances in the electrical and electronic market will be fueled by a rebound in electrical and electronic product output overall and wire and cable production in particular. Explosive growth in photovoltaic module production will generate opportunities for fluoropolymers as interest in alternative energy sources such as solar power swells.