The United States holds a key position in the global composites market. The U.S. composites industry had a good growth in 2012 after a setback caused by the recession of 2008-2009, which significantly affected the demand for high-performance materials.

Having reached a volume of approximately 5.1 billion pounds in 2007, U.S. demand plunged by an exceptional 33 percent over a two-year period (2008-2009), with the sharpest decline in 2009. The market strongly rebounded in 2010 and maintained its growth pattern in 2011 and 2012. The U.S. composites market had an estimated value of $6.8 billion and recorded annual shipments of 4.6 billion pounds of materials in 2012. Looking ahead, the key economic indicators and market dynamics suggest 2013 growth at approximately 4.3 percent to reach 4.8 billion pounds for the market.

Some uncertainties persist in the composites market, mainly due to economic crises in different parts of the world. Although the U.S. market has been growing during the last two years, economic concerns over Europe, China and India are affecting full optimism for growth prospects. The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.12 percent in 2013, which will help the U.S. composites market bring back lost confidence among composites part fabricators.

The U.S. has a rich history of using composites in a wide variety of applications across numerous industries such as aerospace, sporting goods, energy, automotive, construction, marine, pipe and tank, and electrical and electronics. Composites are supported by superior design and manufacturing capabilities, government incentives and grants, and awareness among end users on the multiple benefits of their use.


Figure 1: Comparison of Annual Growth of U.S. Composite Materials Consumption with Annual Growth of GDP and CCI from 2007-2012 (Source: Lucintel)

GDP and CCI (Consumer Confidence Index) are important indicators of a country’s industrial growth. The U.S. GDP grew by an estimated 2.1 percent in 2012 from 2011. Consumer confidence also rose in 2012 driven by increased job opportunity, stabilizing fuel prices and an improved housing market. The U.S. CCI has grown to an estimated 67.2 points in 2012 as compared to 57.2 points in 2011, an increase of more than 16 percent with the third year in a row registering a positive trend since 2009.


Figure 2: Composites Consumption Per Capita by Country in 2011 (Source: Lucintel)

In 2011, per capita consumption of composites in the U.S. was the highest among all countries. The U.S. led the developed nations by a significant margin and the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) by a vast amount, as shown in the chart on page X comparing GDP per capita and composites consumption per capita for several key nations.