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Tire demand in Asia to reach $97.4 billion in 2020

Recovering from Covid-19 and embracing new mobility concepts, such as electric vehicles, will push the Asian tire market to $117.6 billion in 2025, up from $97.4 billion in 2020. This is representative of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 3.8%, by value; and will see tire demand rise from 1.29 billion units to 1.53 billion units over the same five-year forecast period, according to a market report named "The Future of Tires in Asia to 2025".

The report said that its research finds that the pandemic has had a severe impact on tire and vehicle sales, initially in China, but across the whole region in Q2-Q3 2020. Tire, vehicle and raw materials suppliers have reduced production volumes because of lower market demand or have been shut down temporarily following government orders.

Ciaran Little, VP for Americas & Asia Pacific, Information Division, Smithers, says: “We have seen growing demand for more in-depth country level analysis from our customer base across the tire value chain. As a result we have put together a comprehensive assessment of the key tire segments by end use in each of nine major economies in the Asia-Pacific region. The results of the study demonstrate a market with diverse growth dynamics and huge potential that will provide those in the tire industry with a road map for their growth plans in the region.”

In 2020 tire volumes in the region will drop, by 1.0%-6.5% relative to 2019 due to Covid-19 disruption. A degree of normal operation and a return to the consistent growth seen through the 2010s is expected by 2021. Low raw material pricing will help the initial recovery; with tire raw materials consumption forecast to grow by volume on average by 3.0% for 2020–25; with the largest rise in demand for HD silica.

The outlook for three national markets – China, India and Japan – is especially important as combined these represent 70% of regional demand. While China and India will continue to grow through to 2025, Japan along with the other mature regional economy of South Korea will see a marginal decline in demand. The fastest growth in tires in the region, will come from emergent markets in South East Asia. Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are forecast to have the highest growth rates to 2025, posited on strong overall economic growth, rapid urbanisation, and a rise in middle-class consumers investing in their first vehicles.

Representing 49.6% of Asian consumption in 2020, China is the pivotal market for future success; and one that is evolving rapidly, even as Covid-19 reshapes the driving landscape. Tire technology in China is now heavily focused on lower rolling resistance tires; driven by pressure from the Chinese government to reduce CO2 emissions and the establishment of the China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA) tire labelling system. China is also proving to be a key breakthrough market for electric vehicles. It is already the world’s largest national market for electric vehicles, due to strategic government investments.

Rapid urbanisation is making tires for electric two wheelers an immediate priority across the region. Electric scooters are in particularly high demand, though these are based mainly on cheaper sealed lead-acid batteries, rather than lithium-ion cells. Asia also has strong potential for autonomous driving concepts, which is being investigated in many markets, though a widespread deployment of these concepts will not happen before the second half of the 2020s.

The impact of Covid-19, and demographic and technology trends for the future demand for tires in Asia is examined comprehensively in the Smithers report – The Future of Tires in Asia to 2025 []. The market is quantified (by value, and volume) in an exclusive data set presented in over 100 table and figures, segmenting this market by tire type and raw material, including dedicated sizings and forecasts for nine leading national markets.

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