Global carbon fiber demand in 2013 was 46,500 tons and was valued at over USD 1.7 billion. The market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of over 10% over the forecast period. Increasing demand for lightweight and high-strength components from various end-use industries is expected to drive the global carbon fiber market over the next seven years.
The market has observed a steady growth since global economic recession in 2009. Carbon fiber demand grew up from 26,500 tons in 2009 to 46,500 tons in 2013 growing at an average growth rate of around 15% over the forecast period. This demand corresponded to USD 1.7 billion in 2013.
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This huge growth has led to a dramatic capacity expansion by leading manufacturers to cope up with increasing demand. However, lower economic growth rates have adversely affected carbon fiber demand. Lower demand growth than expected has created a huge surplus production capacity. In 2013, excess capacity of over 40% was reported for carbon fiber based on polyacrylonitrile.
Growing concern for automotive and fuel efficiency along with stringent regulations regarding vehicular pollution has increased the need for lightweight vehicles. Carbon fiber and its composites are primarily used to reduce vehicular curb weight without compromising with the strength.
Increasing carbon fiber composites demand from aerospace industry is also expected to fuel market growth over the forecast period. In aerospace industry, material weight and strength plays a crucial role. Need for lightweight aircrafts from defense as well as commercial sectors to increase fuel efficiency and overall performance.
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High raw material conversion cost leads to higher prices for carbon fibers. In spite of extraordinary benefits offered by carbon fiber, its high cost has restrained its penetration into various application segments. High prices have so far limited their use to high-performance applications such as jet fighters, spacecraft, race cars, racing yachts, exotic sports cars, and notably, the latest Airbus and Boeing airliners.
Carbon fibers find applications in various end-use industries such as aerospace & defense, wind turbines, sports, automotive, civil engineering, and marine. High strength to weight ratio has made this material popular in various end-use industries. Aerospace and defense applications have grown significantly and are now the largest consumers of carbon fibers. This segment accounted for over 30% of the global demand in 2013.
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