Global Flexible Foam Market Valuable Growth Prospects, Top Players, Key Country Analysis, Trends and Forecast till 2023

Flexible foams are processed through polyols and diisocyanate using catalyst and blowing agents. Flexible foams offer unique properties such as high resilience, durability, excellent shock absorption, and flexibility. They are used in numerous industries such as automotive, furniture and bedding, and packaging.

The global flexible foam market was valued at USD 28,822.0 million in 2018 and is expected to register a CAGR of 6.45% during the forecast period. The overall consumption stood at 5,873.7 kilotons in 2018 and is projected to reach 7,772.5 kilo tons by 2023. The growth of the global flexible foam market is primarily driven by the increasing demand for lightweight materials in major end-use industries such as automotive, packaging, furniture, construction, and consumer goods. The expanding automobile industry in emerging economies such as India, Brazil, Indonesia, and South Korea is driving the demand for flexible foam. The product finds applications in automobiles to develop automobile seats, headrests, steering wheels, and air filter gaskets. The extensive use of slabstock foam in furniture and bedding industry due to desirable properties such as lightweight, resilience, low odor, and resistance to mildew is the other factor expected to boost the global market growth. The growing use of flexible foam in the packaging of sensitive products such as computers, tablets, and other electronics on account of its excellent shock absorbent, water-resistant and resilient nature is also projected to propel the growth of the global market.

The development of bio-based polyols for flexible foam and recyclability of flexible foam are expected to create significant growth opportunities for the manufacturers in the coming years.

The manufacturers in the global market are focusing on strategic growth initiatives such as expansion, new product launches, agreements, and mergers & acquisitions to strengthen their market position and meet the growing demand for the product. For instance, in March 2018, BASF expanded the simulation tool Ultrasim to be used in flexible integral foam system, Elastofoam. With detailed simulation, it can precisely calculate chemical reaction and flow behavior in the flexible integral foam system especially mold foam. The simulation with Ultraism can precisely predict the air voids and density distribution in steering wheels.

Regional Analysis

The global flexible foam market, by region, is spanned across five regions, namely Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. Asia-Pacific accounted for the largest market share of 41.8% in 2018. This is due to the high production and sale of automobiles in the region. The growth is also attributed to the rapid industrialization and urbanization in emerging economies such as India, Thailand, and Indonesia. The market in Asia-Pacific is projected to reach USD 17,183.8 million by the end of the forecast period at a CAGR of 7.39%.

The European market accounted for the second-largest market share in 2018 with a value of USD 6,489.6 million; it is projected to register a CAGR of 5.29%. However, the North American market is expected to register a high CAGR of 6.63%, after Asia-Pacific.


The market has been segmented on the basis of type, end-use industry, and region.

Based on the type, the global market has been segmented into polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and others. The polyurethane segment is further classified into slabstock, which is again divided into polyether and polyester, molded, and integral skin. The polyurethane segment accounted for a major market share of 53.1% in 2018 due to its properties such as density, insulation, durability, and resilience. Further, the slabstock type was the leading segment in the global market in 2018 with a value of USD 7,567.7 million and is expected to register a CAGR of 7.07% during the review period.

By end-use industry, the global market has been segmented into automotive, furniture & upholstery, consumer goods, construction, packaging, and others. The automotive segment is further sub-segmented into automobile seats, headrest, steering wheel, air filter gaskets, and others, while the consumer goods segment is classified into consumables, household & personal care, clothing & footwear, and others. The construction segment is also categorized into flooring, doors & window panel, and others. The automotive segment accounted for 32.5% of the global market share in 2018 and is expected to reach a value of USD 2,809.3 million by the end of the forecast period. The furniture & upholstery segment is projected to exhibit a healthy CAGR of 6.15% by the end of 2023. The growth of the segment is attributed to the rising disposable income, changing standards of living, and increasing infrastructure activities.

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Key Players

Some of the key players operating in the global flexible foam market are BASF SE (Germany), Covestro AG (Germany), DowDuPont (US), Huntsman International LLC (US), JSP (Japan), Recticel (Belgium), UBE INDUSTRIES, LTD. (Japan), Zotefoams plc (UK), Woodbridge (Canada), Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Japan), 3M (US), Sekisui Alveo (Switzerland), and Flexipol (India).

Geographic Analysis

The report covers a brief analysis of geographies including:

North America

o            US

o            Canada


o            Germany

o            UK

o            France

o            Spain

o            Italy

o            Russia

o            Poland

o            Rest of Europe

Asia Pacific

o            China

o            Japan

o            India

o            Australia

o            Indonesia

o            South Korea

o            Rest of Asia-Pacific

Latin America

o            Brazil

o            Argentina

o            Mexico

o            Rest of Latin America

Middle East & Africa

o            Turkey

o            UAE

o            Saudi Arabia

o            Rest of the Middle East and Africa


Key Findings

The global flexible foam market was valued at USD 28,822.0 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 39,387.5 million by the end of the forecast period at a CAGR of 6.45%. Polyurethane type segment accounted for major market share in 2018 with a value of USD 15,292.7 million; it is expected to register a CAGR of 6.52%. The automotive segment accounted for nearly 32% of the global market share in 2018.

Asia-Pacific emerged as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 7.39% and was valued at USD 12,033.5 million in 2018. BASF SE is the leading manufacturer of flexible foam.


Intended Audience

  • Flexible Foam Manufacturers
  • Traders and Distributors of Flexible Foam
  • Potential Investors
  • Raw Material Suppliers

DC – Description

  • polyurethane foam
  • foam formulation
  • aging
  • temperature dependence
  • strain rate dependence
  • flexible foam


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