Global Overview of the Rubber and Plastic Industry

October 2021

The briefing examines how the rubber and plastic industry is performing globally and in the largest countries in terms of rubber and plastic output. The report also provides data for production, market size, imports, exports, the industry’s costs, the industry’s profitability and number of companies.

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Examining three trends shaping the rubber and plastics industry

Production automation

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant and negative impact on the global rubber and plastic industry, with multiple lockdown periods causing disruptions in production activities. To adapt to elevated social distancing rules in the post-pandemic period as well as to avoid such production interruption in the future, manufacturers are expected to increase investments in automated production machinery.

Supply chain localisation and diversification

Similarly, the COVID-19 outbreak created challenges for supply chains, with multiple rubber and plastic products manufacturers lacking input materials, resulting in static trade and production stoppages. As a result, producers are anticipated to turn towards a network of smaller local suppliers, diversifying risks associated with supply chains.


With environmental friendliness taking the main stage in terms of government policy and public awareness, the rubber and plastic industry will have to meet elevated expectations and requirements. Not only will rubber and plastic materials have to be produced in an ecologically friendly way, but materials will also have to be easily recyclable and integrated into a circular economy.

Examining three t rends shaping the rubber and plastics industry
COVID-19: Impact on rubber and plastic industry
Rubber and plastic products among negatively impacted industries by the COVID-19
Production value to fully recover in 2021
China and the US remain the dominant producers in the global industry
Cost discipline to remain a priority as profits continue to be under pressure
Exports growth slows amid unstable global economy
Eastern Europe to show among the highest growth in rubber and plastic imports
Strong industrial output to drive market growth in Eastern Europe
Michelin SA to remain in the leading position
Total number of companies declines due to consolidation and bankruptcies
Industry concentration to increase amid increasing material costs
China and Eastern Europe to stand behind future production value growth
Eastern Europe and Asia forecast to swiftly recover from COVID-19 shock
Key future trends shaping the global industry
China : Industry to record among the strongest growths in the short-term
Rubber segment to drive the industry’s growth
USA : Industry set to exceed pre-pandemic growth level
Plastic segment to drive the industry’s growth
Japan : Similar growth to before the COVID-19 outbreak
Plastic packaging and building materials to underpin the industry’s growth
Germany : Industry to show slightly higher growth rate than prior to the pandemic
Plastic segment of plates, sheets, tubes and profiles to show the highest growth rate
South Korea : Industry to witness significantly stronger growth
Plastic segment to outperform rubber by far
India : Industry to benefit from strong growth exceeding pre-pandemic levels
Plastic segment to outperform rubber
Italy : Industry to flourish amid strong growth above pre-COVID-19 levels
Rubber products such as tyres and tubes to drive the industry’s growth
France : Industry to rebound from a dramatic fall in 2020
Plastic packaging to perform strongly over the forecast period
U K : Industry to show among the highest growth rates globally
Rubber and plastic segments are forecast to expand at similar rates
Poland : Industry to remain on a strong growth path
Rubber and plastic segments to drive the industry’s growth


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