Polystyrene application sectors exhibit different dynamics, both temporarily and geographically. This dynamics is governed by various factors. Packaging industry is a major outlet for global polystyrene production, especially in Asia, which might be considered a world leader in packaging. However, this type of leadership raises major concerns due to acute environmental problems for which both developing and developed countries are responsible.
Polystyrene: structure of the global market by application sector in 2014 (A) and 2025 (B; forecast)
In 2014, packaging globally accounted for 38.5% of total polystyrene use. Within the next decade the volume of polystyrene consumed in packaging will rise but the share of this application sector will go down, which is caused mainly by cost-effectiveness and environmental considerations connected with the choice of polystyrene. The share of the second-largest application sector, electronics and appliances, will increase, largely due to this sector growth in the Asia Pacific region. Other polystyrene applications include construction (thermal insulation), disposables (e.g. razors), CD cases, plastic cutlery, etc. Asia Pacific and Middle East will be leading regions for growth in all application sectors. Growth in Western Europe, North America and Japan may be subdued, but these regions demonstrate more interest towards high-performance specialized products, customized solutions and unique services based on state-of-art technologies, like the ones offered by Americas Styrenics. This company produces a range of multi-functional general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) resins, high-heat polystyrene and high-impact polystyrene resins, characterized by excellent blend of properties, including balanced toughness, gloss and processing ability, as well as excellent dimensional stability. Similar policy of putting major emphasis on value-added products is pursued by such companies as BASF, Dow and Total Petrochemicals, which hold the leading position in the polystyrene market.
More information on the world’s polystyrene market can be found in in-demand research report “Polystyrene (PS): 2016 World Market Outlook and Forecast up to 2020”.