Over the 2015-2020 period, the world's four fastest growing abrasives markets will be India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. China will account for the largest share of growth, representing 45 percent of the worldwide increase in abrasives sales during those years. Several other countries in the region, including the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, will exhibit good growth as their manufacturing sectors develop. However, regional gains will be blunted by a sluggish performance in Japan, which had the world's third largest market for abrasives in 2015.
International producers will continue to focus their investments on manufacturing operations in regions with lower costs, constraining gains in production for abrasives in regions like North America and Western Europe.
In addition, their already high standards of living mean that the markets for cleaning and maintenance abrasives are mature. Elsewhere, the Africa/ Mideast region is expected to see the best growth, although it will remain a minor share of the global total. Growth in abrasives sales in Eastern Europe will outperform those in Western Europe, as many East European countries are becoming increasingly important as manufacturers of durable goods. Gains in Central and South America are expected to trail the global average, as many developing countries have recently experienced political and economic turmoil that will continue to impact them over the 2015-2020 period.
Coated and bonded abrasives will continue to account for the bulk of abrasives sales worldwide, together accounting for 76 percent of product sales in 2020. Bonded abrasives made with superabrasive materials are projected to grow market share, benefiting from falling material prices that will make these products more cost-competitive. Loose abrasive grains and powders will remain a smaller share of demand, comprising 14 percent of the total in 2020. Sales of metallic abrasives are forecast to rise at an above average rate, benefiting from increased demand for metallic cleaning and maintenance products worldwide.