Nonwovens Industry Outlook

• Production is forecast to increase 5.7 percent annually through to 2020
• China will lead the growth in production, adding an additional 1.2 million tons from the end of 2014 through to 2020, representing a 7 percent annual growth rate
• Across the nonwoven technology methods, drylaid/carded hydroentangled production will expand at the fastest rate, adding 7.6 percent annually
It is amazing to believe this multi-billion dollar industry had its modern start only fifty years ago. Until the last decade, the nonwovens industry was primarily based in Europe, North America, and Japan. It is in those three regions that modern nonwoven technologies were conceived and developed. Now, nonwovens are produced on thousands of lines around the world. The nonwovens industry is now truly global. The worldwide nonwovens industry’s prospects continue to be favorable, and it remains a rewarding and dynamic industry in which to be involved.

The strength of the economy and demographic trends are the significant drivers of demand within the nonwovens industry. Consumer discretionary spending and business investment — both correlated to the strength of the economy — drive demand in nearly every nonwoven end use category, while certain demographic trends — such as births and aging — drive demand in the remaining end use categories. The basic building blocks of nonwovens demand are thus based upon the global economic and population forecasts.

The worldwide production of nonwoven roll goods reached 8.9 million tonnes in 2014, equivalent to US$35.6 billion. The tonnage volume was equal to about 262 billion square meters in 2014. EDANA and INDA forecast worldwide nonwovens production will continue to grow, and expect that in the period from 2014 through 2020 the industry will expand at an annual average rate of 5.7 percent and reach a volume of at least 12.4 million tonnes.


World Nonwovens Production by Region in 2014

Asia is now the dominant nonwoven producing region, accounting for 42 percent of the world’s production in 2014, up from 32 percent in 2004. China accounts for a significant proportion (66%) of the Asia volume and is now the most important nonwovens producer worldwide with production volume in 2014 estimated at 2.4 million tonnes and equivalent to more than a quarter (27%) of global nonwovens production in 2014.

In 2014, the production of nonwovens in North America reached 2.1 million tonnes, an increase of 356,000 tonnes from 2009 (+3.9%), a period that included the recession years and the continued tepid economic environment since then. Greater Europe’s production of nonwovens grew in the 10-year period of 2004-2014, rising from 1.3 million tonnes in 2004 to over 2.2 million tonnes in 2014. This represents an average annual growth rate of 5.0 percent over the 10-year period despite the 2009 downturn.

inda graph 2In 2014 the Middle Eastern & North African (MENA) countries, In 2014, the MENA countries produced about 336,000 tonnes of nonwoven materials and are forecast to reach half a million by 2020. The nonwovens output of this region, after experiencing an average growth of 6.6 percent over the last decade, will keep growing by 7.1 percent annually through the forecast period (2014-2020).

Despite the slowdown recorded in 2009, the trade in nonwoven roll goods has been steadily growing over the past decade. In 10 years, the big picture of the worldwide trade of nonwovens has been modified quite significantly. The evolution of nonwoven exports in both volumes and value has been impressive. In 2014, if we take into account trade flows within the European Union, more than 3,150,000 tonnes of nonwovens valued at around €11,300 million were exchanged worldwide. The same calculation for 2004 showed an approximate 1,750,000 tonnes valued at €6,000 million.

Nonwoven Production by End Use Market Size and Growth

Nonwoven Production by End Use Market Size and Growth


Source: INDA/EDANA, Worldwide Outlook for the Nonwovens Industry, 2015