Published October 2016
Styrene-acrylonitrile resins (SAN) are optically clear resins used in a variety of end uses including housewares/consumer goods, various compounded products, packaging, appliances (electrical/electronic), medical applications, and certain automotive applications. In these markets, SAN is used for its improved rigidity, clarity (although various compounded grades are translucent/opaque), excellent gloss, heat resistance, good processability, load-bearing strength, and resistance to chemicals. Acrylics, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and clear ABS are among SAN resins' main competitors. Markets have continued to move to Asia, with China accounting for nearly 44% of global consumption in 2016.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of SAN resins:
Northeast Asia is the largest producer and consumer of SAN resins, led by China; production in the other Northeast Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) is largely for the export market, primarily to China. China accounted for nearly 44% of global consumption and 45% of global trade in 2016 and will continue to drive the market during 2016–21.
In Western Europe and the United States, SAN consumption is expected to grow more slowly than GDP during 2016–21, at about 1–2% per year. Consumption in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan is expected to decline during the forecast period because of continued competition from competing materials and decreasing demand in the domestic electrical/electronic and housewares industries. SAN production in these countries, however, will continue to increase to supply demand in the export markets, primarily to China and other Asia. Developing countries, such as India, will have the highest growth rate for the consumption of SAN resins in the next five years.
World SAN consumption fell nearly 9% during the economic downturn in 2008–09 but quickly recovered by 2010. SAN consumption is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1.7% during 2016–21, which is higher than the 1.3% annual growth observed in 2011–16. World growth in SAN consumption will be driven by applications in housewares/consumer goods, electrical appliances and electronics, compounding materials, and medical uses. Chinese demand will continue to drive regional and global consumption of and trade in SAN resins; by 2021, Chinese imports will account for over 50% of total global trade in SAN resins.