Polystyrene is a thermoplastic polymer made from the styrene monomer. Benzene and ethylbenzene are the key raw materials used to form styrene. Polystyrene is available as a solid as well as foam. Polystyrene is clear, hard, and rather brittle. Polystyrene is a cheaper resin available in the market. Polystyrene is a commodity resin as the scale of its production being several billion kilograms per year. Polystyrene is transparent; however, it can be colored with colorants. Polystyrene and expanded polystyrene are widely used in the host of applications in different industries including, building & construction, electrical & electronics, packaging, etc. Polystyrene (PS) is mainly used for producing disposable plastic cutlery and dinnerware, etc. Polystyrene foams are good thermal insulators and are therefore often used as building insulation materials, such as in insulating concrete forms and structural insulated panel building systems. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam. It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. EPS is used for many applications e.g. trays, plates, bowls and fish boxes.

According to the report, global demand for polystyrene and expanded polystyrene was valued at USD 32 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach USD 42 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of approximately 4.5% between 2015 and 2020. In terms of volume, the global polystyrene and expanded polystyrene market stood at 17.5 million tons in 2014. Zion Market Research  has published a new report titled “Polystyrene (PS) & Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) Market for Building & Construction, Electrical & Electronics, Packaging and Other Applications: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis, and Forecast, 2014 – 2020.”

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Polystyrene and expanded polystyrene market are mainly driven by strong demand from packaging industry. Packaging industry in emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa, etc. is growing at a rapid pace. Increasing demand for consumer goods in these countries has resulted in the rise in demand for packaging materials. Moreover, strong growth of food & beverages and pharmaceutical industry in emerging economies is expected to further trigger the demand for the packaging industry. Secondly, the growth of electronics and construction industry across the world is another major driving factor for the growth of polystyrene and expanded polystyrene market. However, environmental concern, fluctuating prices of raw materials and substitute materials are expected to present the significant challenge to industry participants. This is expected to affect the growth of this industry in the years to come. Recycling of polystyrene is expected to open new growth window for the industry participants.

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Polystyrene and expandable polystyrene (EPS) are the key products types of polystyrene market. Polystyrene dominated the global market with around two-third shares of the global market in 2014. However, expanded polystyrene is expected to be the fastest growing segment during the forecast period. The key application markets for polystyrene and expanded polystyrene includes packaging industry, electrical & electronics, building & construction, and others applications. Packaging industry dominated polystyrene and expanded polystyrene market with around 40% share of the total volume consumed in 2014. Electrical and electronics segment is expected to be the fastest growing application market for polystyrene and expanded polystyrene. Other applications include disposable razors, plastic cutlery, CD cases, plastic models, Petri dishes, etc. that can also have a moderate level of the market for the forecasted period.

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Asia Pacific was the leading regional market polystyrene and expanded polystyrene with over 40% share in total volume consumption in 2014. It is also expected to be the fastest growing regional market during the forecast period. Asia Pacific is dominated by China, which accounts for the huge share in total volume of polystyrene and expanded polystyrene consumed in the region in 2014. China is expected to be the major driving force for the growth of global polystyrene and expanded polystyrene market. Asia Pacific was followed by Europe and North America. However, Europe and North America are expected to witness decline its market share over the forecast period owing stringent environmental regulations and growing demand for bio-based products in the region.

Some of the key industry participants in global polystyrene and expanded polystyrene market includes, Adeplast S. A. (Romania), BASF SE (Germany), Ineos Styrenics (Switzerland), Armacell LLC (Germany), Carpenter Co. (U.S.), Owens Coming (U.S.), Nova Chemical Company (U. S.), and  Kaneka Corporation (Japan), and others.

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