Published - Oct 2001| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS017B
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Report Highlights

  • Total North American styrene consumption is expected to approach 7.7 billion pounds in 2001 and exceed 8.8 billion pounds in 2006, rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 2.8%.
  • Commodity styrenics make up 44% of the market. This figure will climb slightly during the period, as this sector rises at an AAGR of 3.2%.
  • Styrenic foams and film/sheet currently represent the second largest sector, but, growing at an AAGR of only 1.5%, will drop to third.
  • Specialty styrenics, climbing at an AAGR of 3.1%, will make up the second largest sector in 2006.
  • Styrenic alloys/blends will feature the strongest growth, at an AAGR of 4.8%, but will make up less than 5% of the market in 2006.



The objective of this study is to provide an analysis of styrene polymers in terms of current and forecasted markets. New developments in styrene polymers have expanded usage in existing and new applications. The competitive scenario between styrene and other polymers will be described, in addition to competition among the various styrene polymers themselves.

Important suppliers of styrene polymers, their product lines, and other important factors that impact the market will be discussed.


Styrene polymers have evolved as more than commodity polystyrenes. Styrene polymers have found use in almost every plastic application and are available as rigid products both opaque and transparent as films, sheet, foams, and elastomers. Furthermore, styrene polymers form an important part of alloys/blends and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).

Polystyrene polymers comprise about 10% of commodity thermoplastic sales. Styrene polymer growth rates should keep pace with both polyethylenes and PVC, although aggregate styrene polymer prices are higher than polyethylene, PVC, and polypropylene.


The term "styrene polymers" is somewhat subjective. For the purposes of this report, it will include the following:

1.   Polystyrene (injection molded, extruded, thermoformed, film/sheet, and foam/expanded)

2.   ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-tyrene)

3.   SAN (styrene-acrylonitrile)

4.   SMA (styrene-maleic anhydride)

5.   SBC (styrene butadiene block copolymers)–both rigid and elastomeric

6.   HIPS (high-impact polystyrene)

7.   PPO/HIPS (polyphenylene oxide/high-impact polystyrene alloy/blend)

8.   PC/ABS (polycarbonate/ABS alloy/blend)

9.   Other ABS alloys/blends (PVC, PBT, polyurethanes, etc.)

10.  ASA/AES weatherable polymers

11.  Syndiotactic polystyrene

12.  Ethylene-Styrene copolymer

The following styrenic applications will be covered in this report: packaging, electric/electronic, building/construction, appliances, medical devices and products, automotive, toys and others. All average annual growth rates (AAGRs) refer to the 2001 to 2006 time frame.


A comprehensive review was undertaken of: literature relating to styrene polymers, their applications and technology, significant new developments; supplier trade literature; texts and monographs, etc.

Following the collection and analysis of this information, unresolved issues were discussed with producers, suppliers, and compounders of styrene polymers.


The following acronyms will be used throughout the report:

  • ASA—acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile
  • ABS—acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene
  • AES—acrylonitrile-EPDM-styrene
  • EPS—expandable polystyrene
  • ETPs—engineering thermoplastics
  • EVA—ethylene vinyl alcohol
  • GPPS—general purpose polystyrene
  • HDT—heat deflection temperature
  • HIPS—high-impact polystyrene
  • LCPs—liquid crystal polymers
  • MAP—modified atmospheric packaging
  • MBS—methacrylate-butadiene-styrene
  • OPS—oriented polystyrene
  • PPO—polyphenylene oxide
  • PS—polystyrene
  • PUR—polyurethanes
  • RPS—reactive polystyrene
  • SAN—styrene-acrylonitrile
  • SBCs—styrene-butadiene block copolymers
  • SEBS—styrene-ethylene-butadiene-styrene
  • SIS—styrene-isoprene-styrene
  • SMA—styrene-maleic anhydride
  • SPS—syndiotactic polystyrene
  • TPEs—thermoplastic elastomers
  • TPUs—thermoplastic urethanes.

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