US Nonwovens Demand to Exceed $5 Billion in 2009

Jan. 24, 2006 - A recent study indicates that demand for nonwoven roll goods is projected to increase 4.0 percent per year to $5.1 billion in 2009, driven by healthy gains in key markets such as filtration, construction, wipes and electronics. Further growth will derive from increased market penetration in many applications, including industrial wipes and roofing membranes, as new technologies improve the functionality of nonwoven materials.

However, Nonwovens, a new study from The Freedonia Group, says that gains will be limited by intense price competition in many consumer markets, as converted product manufacturers seek to cut costs by reducing the amount of material in their products and using less expensive nonwovens.

Spunbonded nonwovens will remain the dominant product, accounting for nearly half of total volume in 2009, owing to their position as the material of choice in several major markets such as baby diapers. However, air laid nonwovens will post the fastest growth in both volume and value, fueled by increased use in wipes and hygiene products, as well as higher prices compared to the 1999 to 2004 period. Although carded and wet laid nonwovens are expected to see the slowest gains, certain segments of these product types will have more favorable prospects.

Among disposables markets, consumer products will continue to account for the largest portion of nonwovens sales, though growth will be restricted by belowaverage advances in baby diaper and feminine hygiene markets. Nondisposables, which comprised over 35 percent of nonwovens sales in 2004, will grow at a slower pace than disposables. However, the largest nondisposable markets, construction and electronics, will post above-average gains, fueled by robust growth in nonresidential construction and solid increases in battery production.

Polypropylene and polyester were the most widely used fiber materials in 2004, accounting for over three-quarters of fiber consumption in nonwovens, in the form of both staple fibers and filament fibers produced by the spunbonded and meltblown processes. Demand for cotton fibers will see the fastest growth, benefitting from consumer preference for natural fibers in nonwoven products. Consumption of fibers made with rayon (or viscose) fibers will post the slowest growth through 2009, as these fibers are increasingly replaced by polypropylene and polyester.

Nonwovens (published 01/2006, 341 pages) is available from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143 -2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail pr@freedoniagroup.com. Information may also be obtained through www.freedoniagroup.com.

SOURCE: The Freedonia Group, Inc.

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