Synthetic Leather Market Overview:
As per the international Trade Centre, leather and leather products international trade surpasses $80 billion per year. At the same time, various organizations such as PETA are successfully driving forward the implementations to ban animal leather application in apparel and footwear industry. For instance, PETA Germany worked towards ensuring the ban on animal fur in Serbia in 2019 and India banned the import of reptile skins and fur negatively impacting the exotic leather industry. Leveraging this stride against animal cruelty, synthetic or artificial leather market is gaining traction as it resembles an alternative for the billion dollar leather and leather products market. With abundant potential as a substitute material for leather in various verticals such as upholstery, clothing, footwear, and others where a leather-like finish is demanded, the global synthetic leather market has reached a staggering market size of $25 billion as of 2018.
Artificial Leather Market Outlook:
Artificial leather is commercialized under many names, such as faux leather, leatherette, vegan leather, pleather and PU leather. Deep analysis of the synthetic leather business insights states the opportunities in the arcade to be progressing at a global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.95% during the forecast period of 2019-2025.
According to the findings by United Nations Industrial Development Organization, nearly 65% of the global leather production has been consumed by the footwear industry. Subsequently, synthetic leather being an economical and enforced substitute of leather is stepping into the footwear industry and has all the requisite potential to divert substantial leather demands into its own market. Thus, among the synthetic leather end-user industries, footwear sector secures the apex spot and is progressing with an application CAGR of 4.50% going through 2025.
Regional viewpoint and share analysis of the synthetic leather market reckons APAC to be the most lucrative spot in terms of artificial leather demand. This terrain with densely populated economies including India and China, accounted for 28% of the global demand. Increase in disposable income and rising awareness against animal cruelty are among the prime reasons for sheer affluence of APAC. Some facts supporting the argument-
· Production of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which is an imperative element applied in synthetic leather, requires petroleum. China is among the global leaders in terms of petroleum production and consumption as well. In 2017, China accounted for 5% of total global oil production.Thus, sufficient domestic production of raw materials is disrupting the regional synthetic leather market in APAC.
· Footwear is a major value-added finished product of the leather industry. International Trade Centre validates that China accounts for 45% of leather based footwear production, resembling it as a lucrative spot generating synthetic leather demand.
· Most of the leather in Europe and the United States is imported from India and China. But following stringent regulations and federal acts such as Dog and Cat Protection Act, the U.S has imposed a ban on importation of dog and cat fur skin, creating a demand for a mandatory shift towards synthetic production by APAC leather exporters. Similarly, IBEF stated that India accounts for 13% of global leather production and 10% of footwear production, now with animal welfare organizations imposing ban of animal based leather, a substantial portion of leather industry is adapting the paradigm shift towards synthetic leather.
Synthetic Leather Market Trends and Growth Drivers:
· Faux leather is a major trend disrupting the synthetic leather market. This artificial commodity substitutes leather in clothing, furniture and other uses. It is made from a fabric base which is chemically treated with wax, dye or polyurethane which produces a finish and look similar to that of original leather but in a much more economical cost.
· Increasing vegan population preferring non-leather products is driving the synthetic leather market. Vegan leather is a major trend capturing the space, for instance, mushroom is used to mimic the texture of leather made from animals. MuSkin is the new vegan leather on the block made from mushroom caps.
· BOSS Menswear now offers high-quality vegan shoes made of pineapple leather crafted from the material, known as Piñatex, an innovative leather-alternative created from pineapple leaf fibers.
The production of synthetic leather requires numerous raw materials such as PU and PVC, that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels and impact carbon footprints. In terms of ecological effect, artificial leather is not essentially healthier than genuine leather as every material has certain environmental prices accompanying it. However, fiber experts are constantly investing in R&D to generate ecological alternatives to be employed in artificial leather production.
Some of the key players operating in the synthetic leather market are Kuraray Co. Ltd., San Fang Chemical industry Co. Ltd, Teijin Limited, Mayur Uniquoters Ltd, Polyfabs, Aroravinyl, Jindalcoaters, Filwel Co. Ltd, Nan Ya Plastics Industrial Co LTd, H.R. Polycoats Pvt Ltd, and Kolon Industries.