Composites Germany has identified the latest KPIs for the fibre-reinforced polymers market for the eleventh time. Again, the survey covered all the member companies of the four biggest umbrella organisations of Composites Germany: AVK, CCeV, CFK-Valley and the VDMA Working Group on Hybrid Lightweight Construction Technologies.
As before, to ensure a smooth comparison with the previous surveys, the questions in this half-yearly survey had been left unchanged. Once again, the data obtained in the survey was largely qualitative in relation to current and future market developments.
When asked to assess the current situation in three regions – Germany, Europe and worldwide – the respondents generally gave positive ratings. This applies both to their own business situations and to business in general. For example, 86% described the general business situation as either “positive” or indeed “very positive”. In fact, this area was seen slightly more optimistically than in the last survey.
Respondents also continued to take a positive outlook on the economic situations of their own businesses, albeit with regional differences.
The overall pattern was equally positive concerning future expectations both for the general business situation and their own situations. The majority of those surveyed believe that the basically positive market environment will not deteriorate or that it might even improve.
The survey covered two indicators describing the investment climate (capital investment and HR planning), and both continued to be positive. Only 6% of the respondents think their workforce will have to be reduced, while 44% believe they will need to employ new staff. Nearly half of all respondents agree that their companies will want to become more active in composites.
When it comes to growth drivers in the composites market, only minor changes can be observed. The two traditional sectors of automotive and aviation continue to be the areas which are expected to deliver substantial growth stimuli. Increasingly, however, they are being joined by infrastructure and construction. For the first time, in fact, expectations on this sector are higher than on the automotive sector.
As for materials, CRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymers) continues to be the number one growth driver. Geographically, Asia is still the dominant region from which major growth stimuli are expected.
Although, fundamentally, assessments continue to be highly positive concerning the current and future business situation (both generally and for individual businesses), the Composites Development Index shows differing developments.
Expectations on the future business situation, both generally and for the respondents’ own businesses, are slightly less optimistic than in the last survey. However, it should not be overlooked that both indicators continue to be at a very high level of satisfaction.
Unlike in the last survey, the assessment of the general business situation has a clear tendency towards the positive again, while respondents’ assessments of their own situations have hardly changed at all. However, here too we can see a general continuation of a very optimistic assessment at an extremely high level.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that future expectations are somewhat sullied for both areas. This should be taken seriously, although it must also be seen in perspective. In the medium term it will be interesting to see whether the downturn will continue or whether it will once more show a positive development during the second half of the year. Furthermore, the very high satisfaction values are not likely to be sustainable in the long run, and any downturns should therefore not be over-emphasised.
The next Composites Market Survey will be published in January 2019.