The global electric insulator market was valued at USD 9.71 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 13.34 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 5.58%, during the forecast period.
Increasing investments in smart grid projects
Increasing investments in smart grid technologies and smart cities that include distribution grid automation, power quality equipment, and demand response systems in countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia would create growth opportunities for the electric insulator market. In addition, government policies for creating more smart cities will also boost the electric insulator market during the forecast period.
A smart grid is an advanced technology with smart devices in the circuits, which enable remote monitoring of the normal operation. These devices have two-way communication technologies that allow the utility to interact with every device and control their working to detect and eliminate faults. Increasing number of smart city projects across the globe presents a huge opportunity for technology companies, service providers, utility providers, and consulting companies. In smart cities, the key services such as utility, safety, transportation, and health are managed more efficiently and intelligently using technology and proper utilization of resources. Smart cities are likely to depend on smart grids to provide robust energy to perform the key activities and functions.
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The rate of urbanization is the highest in the Asia Pacific region; both developed and developing countries in the region are looking to adopt smart city technologies. The Chinese government has proposed a smart grid plan from 2016 to 2020 in May 2016 with considerable investment in the smart grid technology, and deployment of roughly 60–80 million units yearly from 2016 to 2020. According to the NorthEast Group, Australia & New Zealand are expected to invest USD 6.1 billion from 2017 to 2027 to improve their smart grid infrastructure.
Smart and high-performance insulating materials would add to the reliability of smart grids, while also reducing costs. Power systems, which involve the transportation of billions of GW of power over thousands of kilometers, have accentuated the need for smart equipment for proper monitoring and timely fault correction. Investments in smart grid technologies are increasing, particularly in the developed countries that are entering the new era of power supply and load management. According to the Smart Grid Projects Outlook 2017, approximately 950 smart grid projects were introduced from 2002 to 2017 in the EU, which accounted for investments worth approximately USD 5 billion. The increase in smart grid investments in North America and Europe would drive the electric insulator market.
Volatility in Raw Material Prices
Rapid changes in the prices of raw materials can have a significant impact on the electric insulator market. Steel and silicon rubber are the raw materials used for manufacturing insulators. The prices of these materials are highly volatile and fluctuate frequently. This variation in the prices can be attributed to the slow economic growth in China, which is one of the largest steel producers, in the last three years. Since there is no product differentiation and the price of a product determines the dominance of a supplier in the market, absorbing cost variations upstream in the supply chain becomes critical for manufacturers. The manufacturing sector in the country is expected to decline further in the future, which can result in further fluctuations in prices. The volatility in the prices of raw materials poses a major challenge for the electric insulator market.
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The major players in the electric insulator market are ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), General Electric, Siemens AG (Germany), Toshiba Corporation (Japan), and Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd. (India).
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