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Overview of the US composites industry

News International-French

8 Apr 2014

The US is a key geography for the global composites industry as it represents around third of its (32 % in value and 28 % in volume). The new JEC study analyses the US composites industry. It presents historical demand data and forecast by sectors.

The United States accounts for about a third of the global composite industry’s overall value, so it constitutes a key geographical area for that sector.
The country also leads in terms of composite penetration rate, with around 7 kg per capita (versus ~4 kg in Europe and ~2 kg in China).

Global leaders
The US composite industry also has a number of representative global leaders covering all key stages of the value chain:


  • Emblematic raw material leaders like Johns Manville, PPG, and Owens Corning (glass fibre); Cytec and Hexcel (carbon fibre); ExxonMobil, Chevron and DuPont (thermoset resins); and Dow, Ashland and AOC (thermoplastic resins).
  • Global leaders in end-application industries like aerospace (e.g. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies), automotive (e.g.GM, Ford, Delphi), and construction (e.g. Owens Corning, Johns Manville).
  • World-class R&D centres like Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures (AMTAS) in Washington State and High Performance Polymers and Composites (HiPPAC) at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia.

Main trends
Players in the American composite industry benefit from three global trends:

  • Global growth driven by final market applications where, on average, 65% of the growth in volume (across sectors) will be driven by emerging Asian countries over the next five years.
  • Innovation breakthroughs at the global level, where R&D and innovation are driving the penetration of composites further with respect to traditional materials.
  • A changing manufacturing and sourcing footprint, with globalization of suppliers or – when relevant – relocation of manufacturing to competitive countries (e.g. China for glass fibre).

Annual growth
The recovery growth prospects for the U.S. composite industry are promising, with annual growth at an expected 5% over the next five years, or approximately 25% of global growth. By 2018, about 70% of the US composite industry’s growth in value should be driven by three segments: aerospace (~30%), automotive (~25%) and construction (~15%).

Aerospace, automotive and construction
Due to their strong competitive position in the global aerospace industry, U.S. aerospace composite players (who account for about 60% of the global market share) are expected to capture a large share of the growth of the global fleet of commercial aircraft. About 37% of this growth will come from emerging Asian countries. With a 40% share, the U.S. market dominates the global automotive composite market. Driven by further penetration of composites (thanks to new fuelefficiency and CO2-emission standards, innovation, and new materials such as natural fibres), this market should continue to grow. U.S. automotive composite players are likely to aim at further growth through an accelerated growth strategy in China, which is – and will remain – the leading market for global automotive applications. In the building and construction sector, U.S. companies are leading innovation efforts in bridge and residential-housing applications. The growth of U.S. players in this segment will be driven by the repair of ageing infrastructure in the U.S. (especially bridges), the recovery of the U.S. residential housing market, and – for U.S. multinationals – continuing urbanization in emerging Asia.

This study will be available on JEC Americas-Atlanta, May 13th-15th. Price: US$150