The global synthetic leather market size is expected to grow from USD 63.3 billion in 2020 to USD 82.5 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 4.79% from 2021 to 2027. Globally increasing product demand from the footwear sector is a key factor propelling the overall market growth. Comprised of a cloth base coated with a synthetic resin, artificial leather serves as a suitable alternative, which is also augmenting its demand in various applications, including fabrics, footwear, clothing, upholstery, and others where a leather-like finish is required, and the material is unusable, unsuitable, and cost-prohibitive. Over the past few years, the production process has evolved for the shell coating to go on top of the synthetic polymer blend.
Moreover, the rising scope of application across various segments, such as furnishing, automotive, clothing, bags, and others, will drive the market growth. Manufacturers have been spreading their sourcing, shifting especially to Asian suppliers, such as China and Vietnam, owing to the abundance of raw material and availability of low-cost labor.
However, the global Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the market demand for synthetic leather owing to the several preventive measures taken by various governments to limit the spread of the disease. This has led to a decline in the demand and trade of synthetic leather across the globe and is expected to have a negative impact on market growth in the coming years.
COVID-19 Impact on the Global Synthetic Leather Market
The Asia Pacific is the largest manufacturer of leather and synthetic leather. The leather industry has been adversely affected during COVID-19 which has, opened up opportunities for synthetic leather. According to the Financial Express, industry experts gradually realize that the focus should now be on non-leather footwear exports, as varieties of non-leather footwear accounts for 86% of the total footwear consumption. This was the observation of a cross-section of domestic footwear makers. Recently, there has been a rise in demand for synthetic leather from the makeshift hospitals and healthcare institutes worldwide for beds and furniture to facilitate various patients suffering from COVID-19 and other diseases. These beds and other furniture mostly have medical-grade synthetic leather coverings and are antibacterial or antifungal in nature. In the case of the automotive industry, it has faced a major setback as the sales of the cares have dropped in the first half of the year, which has indirectly affected the demand for synthetic leather as it is mostly used in making the interiors of the cars. In addition, the fluctuation in the raw material prices of synthetic leather has also affected its market.
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Global Synthetic Leather Market Dynamics
Emerging regional markets, such as China, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, are expected to play a major role in global market growth due to high product demand. Extensive product usage in the footwear industry in these and several other Asian markets is expected to contribute to the growth of the global industry over the next few years.
How Will Bio-Based Synthetic Leather Sales affect Overall Market Growth?
With the rising demand and strict international regulations to curb animal cruelty, manufacturers are shifting from natural leather towards bio-based or vegan synthetic leather for manufacturing footwear and bags.
These new types of leathers are free from any toxic and harmful manufacturing and usage traits and are synthesized from natural fibers like flax or fibers of cotton mixed with palm, soybean, corn, and other plants.
A new plant-based synthetic leather class has emerged called “Pinatex,” produced from pineapple leaves. The pineapple leaf fibers have excellent strength and flexibility, which are the key qualities required to manufacture leather. The manufacturing process itself consumes limited resources and thus helps in reducing carbon emissions.
Bio-based leather products have already started to hit the marketplace. For instance, Bucha Bio launched plant-based leather, which is completely made in the laboratory in July 2021, to push the envelope towards introducing a sustainable leather alternative that can be used for shoes, clothing, accessories, and more. With growing international pressure towards reducing the usage of toxic chemicals, these new alternatives can offer a major opportunity for synthetic leather market growth.
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Scope of the Report
The study categorizes the synthetic leather market-based type and application at the regional and global levels.
By Type (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017-2027)
- PVC Based
By Application (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017-2027)
- Bags, Purses & Wallets
By Region (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017-2027)
- North America (US, Canada, Mexico)
- South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Rest of Latin America)
- Europe (Germany, Italy, France, UK, Spain, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Rest of Europe)
- Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia & New Zealand, Rest of Asia Pacific)
- The Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa, Northern Africa, Rest of MEA)
PU-based leather is the largest type for the synthetic leather market in 2020, by Type
PU-based leather is generally made using PU and different fabrics. It is made by coating a fabric such as polyester or cotton with a flexible polymer. Various processes further treat it to look like animal hide-based leather. PU-based synthetic leather is made by using soft polymers; hence it does not require additional plasticizers. It offers various advantages, such as being waterproof, lightweight, and soft.
In some cases, PU-based leather may tear easily but does not fade or crack in the sunlight. It is widely preferred in the automotive and clothing industries. PU-based leather is considered more environment-friendly than vinyl-based leather, as it does not create dioxins. PU-based leather is more expensive than PVC-based leather due to its extensive manufacturing process.
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Asia Pacific accounts for the highest CAGR during the forecast period
Based on the regions, the global synthetic leather market has been segmented across North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, South America, and the Middle East & Africa. The Asia Pacific dominated the market, accounting for the maximum revenue share of over 42% in 2020. The regional market will expand further at the fastest CAGR from 2021 to 2027. China, India, and South Korea are expected to be the major revenue-generating economies in the Asia Pacific. Rising disposable income coupled with increasing population will provide numerous growth opportunities to the market players. China is one of the prominent markets in terms of product manufacturing and sales.
However, the global pandemic adversely affected the country’s manufacturing output. Several manufacturers have either closed or slowed down their operations to contain the spread of the disease. Limited production in the manufacturing industry due to a halt or slowdown in operations, limitations on the supply and transportation in the country, and infrastructure slowdown are anticipated to negatively affect the product demand from the end-use application in the near future.
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Key Market Players
The synthetic leather market is mildly concentrated in nature, with few numbers global players operating in the market, such as Kuraray Co. Ltd., San Fang Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., Teijin Limited, Mayur Uniquoters Limited, NAN YA plastics corporation, Filwel Co. Ltd., Zhejiang Hexin Industry Group Co., Ltd., Alfatex N.V., H.R. Polycoats Pvt. Ltd., and Yantai Wanhua Synthetic Leather Group Co. Ltd. These players have been adopting various winning strategies to gain higher shares or retain leading positions in the market.
MSG has identified Asahi Kasei, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, Toray Industries, Teijin Limited, Kuraray Co., Ltd., Daewon Chemical Co Ltd., Kolon Industries Inc., Achilles Corp, and Mayur Uniquoters as leading players in the synthetic leather market. They collectively account for more than 30% of the global market share as of 2021.
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