A largely fragmented landscape of electroactive polymers manufacturers implies a high level of competition between both globally prominent and regional companies. In 2015, the top three manufacturers of electroactive polymers were PolyOne Corporation, BASF SE, and Heraeus Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG. Their collective share in the global market for electroactive polymers in terms of its value in 2015 was 20.4%, this leaving a large scope for regional players to try their hand at increasing market value.

As stated in a new publication by Transparency Market Research, the differentiation between electroactive polymer products is very large and allows companies to specialize in certain products rather than try to produce multiple types. This is more common among regional players, while globally prominent manufacturers have the capital to produce multiple electroactive polymers.

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The threat of new entrants into electroactive polymer production is very high, especially in Asia Pacific where the concept of electroactive polymers has not caught on yet. This region holds a very high scale of opportunities in the near future, thus attracting both global players as well as new regional players to take up market shares.

The global market for electroactive polymers is projected at a CAGR of 7.6% within a forecast period from 2016 to 2024. This revenue is expected to reach US$3.15 bn by the end of 2016 and US$5.69 bn by the end of 2024.

North America to Prevail as Leading User of Electroactive Polymers

Over 80% of the total volume of electroactive polymers produced annually has gone into producing conductive polymers. By the end of 2024, this share is expected to settle at 82.7% of the overall market volume.

A key point to consider when looking at the global use of electroactive polymers is its dependence on the North American demand. At the moment, North America holds a massive share of total consumption of electroactive polymers. Two reasons for this are the market itself being in a nascent stage mostly consolidated in the U.S., and a very low awareness of the benefits of electroactive polymers in other regions.

By the end of 2024, a whopping 62.3% of the total electroactive polymers volume will be utilized within North America.

ESD and EMI Protection Offered by Electroactive Polymers Considered Leading Advantage for Manufacturers

“The key application of electroactive polymers lies against the protection of electronic equipment from electrostatic discharge and electromagnetic interference. With both ESD and EMI being leading causes of electronic device failure, the introduction of electroactive polymers as a protective measure has and will continue to work in the manufacturers’ favor,” states a TMR analyst.

By the end of 2024, 34.9% of the total electroactive polymers volume produced will be used in protective measures against ESD and EMI.

An additional driver for the global demand for electroactive polymers is the growing demand for lighter materials that can be used in automotive sensors and actuators. The booming auto industry is chasing down targets of making cars and commercial vehicles lighter to improve their performance and cut down emissions. The use of electroactive polymers is one of the more effective ways to achieve this target.

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Product Awareness Continues to be an Issue for Electroactive Polymer Sales

There is, however, still the challenge of low product awareness that still severely hampers the use of electroactive polymers on a global level. The manufacture of electroactive polymers is still at an early stage and mostly prominent in North America. It will take a much higher rate of awareness among application industries in APAC and Europe for global players to make full use of these regions.

The information presented in this review is based on a Transparency Market Research report, titled, “Electroactive Polymers Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2016 - 2024.”

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