Market insights: survey shows positive outlooks for the Composites industry

The ongoing epidemic of COVID-19 that has been affecting the world's economy since last winter has had a tremendous impact on many major industries, including aerospace and automotive, at the heart of the composites industry. Although the outlooks seem uncertain for the latter, the composites industry has remained resilient and shows strong adaptability during this crisis.

Thus, JEC Group mandated Explori, an audience listening platform, to perform a survey* among 1.500 international respondents in May and October 2020 to evaluate the impact of COVID 19 on their company. Many industrials are looking forward to the future with much optimism. Here are some takeaways.

1 Out of 2 company remains optimistic about the future

A very resilient and robust industry although an economic downturn

On a global scale, the composites industry has resisted much the impact of COVID 19

  • • 64% of companies are operating at 76%-99% of their capacity showing a positive sign of recovery post-COVID 19.
  • • Half of the respondents have shown concerns over business opportunities. The crisis has pushed them to reinvent themselves shortly to support production capacities and avoid downturns.
  • • Only 25% express concerns regarding innovation and R&D. Their main objective is to turn to more investment in R&D to innovate in the future.

Change of supply chain strategy to avoid relying on external providers

The survey revealed that 50% of the respondents changed materials suppliers to cope with supply chain issues. Many have changed their foreign providers to turn to local ones to avoid supply chain delays, and 70 % plan to remain on the same path in the future.

Also, 25% of the companies have switched their production to manufacture healthcare production in May, 30% of them will continue in the long run showing a growing interest in this sector.

Future perspectives and problematics

  • 1 out of two companies are optimistic about the evolution of the situation within the next 18 months; this is consistent across regions, companies' types, and sizes
  • 50% of respondents considered entering a new activity sector. Sustainability and renewable energies being main ones.
  • Renewable energy, Sports and health sector, Marine, Building, Railway, and Defense are considered to be in the top 5 new sectors to enter in the future.
  • 50% consider that innovation is critical to enter new markets and new manufacturing processes. Innovation sources via universities and startups will remain stable whatever the region.
  • The top 3 Innovation drivers are reducing cost, competition concerns, and new customers' needs.
  • For composite part manufacturers, the top 3 innovation drivers would be production cost reduction, competition, and also applying for scientific advances

Full survey available upon request.

*JEC Group - Explori Market insights survey - 1.500 international respondents answered this survey, the first wave was conducted from April 27– May 13, 2020, the second wave, from October 7-19, 2020. Comparative data included from wave 1 and wave 2. Profile of the respondents: 63% are European, 25% from Asia, 10% from North America; 40% are raw material producers, 35% composites part manufacturers.

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