In the recently published study, the market research institute Ceresana comprehensively analyzes and describes the development of the global market for styrene. Styrene is an important product in the petrochemical industry and used to manufacture a broad range of day-to-day products. The importance of styrene is reflected by the revenues generated with this product: market value amounted to about US$41.8 billion in 2012.
About 40% of the styrene consumed worldwide in 2012 were processed into polystyrene. Polystyrene is used in the manufacturing of food packaging as well as electrical and electronic devices. The global economy will continue to recover during the next few years and thus provide the general framework for a moderate increase of demand for this plastic. Yet demand for polystyrene will not increase as dynamically as demand for other standard plastics due to a change in technologies and advancing substitution processes. Market researchers at Ceresana forecast global demand for styrene in the production of polystyrene to rise by, on average, 2.3% per year.
The second largest sales market in the production of expandable polystyrene (EPS), which is used as insulation material in new residential units and the refurbishment of old buildings, among others. Styrene based engineering plastics such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) are used by, e.g., the automotive and electronics industry. Other applications for styrene are styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), styrene-butadiene latex (SBL), and unsaturated polyester resins (UPR). "The segments ABS and EPS are likely to provide the largest growth impulses in the future. Demand in these segments is projected to increase by 4.1% and 3.8% p.a. respectively until 2020", forecasts Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana. While the ABS industry is still in the initial stage in many emerging countries with excellent growth prospects, producers of EPS in several industrialized countries are able to profit from state-subsidies to increase energy efficiency. Even on saturated markets, this can provide growth impulses.