For the sixth time Composites Germany has identified up-to-date KPIs for the composites market (market for fibre-reinforced plastics). The market survey mainly looks at qualitative data concerning general market developments and also the specific developments of the various composites segments. Like in the previous surveys since 2013, the level of satisfaction among participating companies was generally very high, despite a slightly negative trend for certain indicators.
According to Composites Germany, the general business situation was seen as more positive or very positive by the vast majority of respondents. The proportion of optimistic assessments of the worldwide business situation in this latest survey was 82%, amounting to a slight increase of 2% since the previous survey. However, this indicator was much higher again for the German market, where 73% of respondents assessed the general business situation as more positive and 14% as very positive. Yet despite this highly positive underlying mood, Germany recorded a 3% downturn in positive assessments compared with the survey for the first half of 2015.
Future general business situation (Europe). Source: composites-germany.org
Optimism also prevailed among the majority of respondents on future developments. Only a very small proportion of participants (less than 10%) said they expected the situation to deteriorate in the next six-month period, although there were differences in their assessments of the different regions (i.e. worldwide, Europe and Germany) Whereas, for instance, just over a quarter of respondents expected the worldwide business situation to improve, this proportion was “only” 19% for Germany.
Companies are currently continuing to give positive assessments of their own business situations. Over three quarters of all respondents described their own companies/organisations as being in a more positive or indeed very positive position. When asked about expectations about their own business situations for the next six-month period, only a very small number expected a deterioration in Europe. The outcome was similar for their expectations worldwide and within Germany.
Growth stimuli – regions. Source: composites-germany.org
As expected, this positive image was supported by the investment climate indicators. Companies’ HR planning figures were very similar to the level found in the previous survey. As before, many expected to see an increase in their own staffing levels.
In this segment the ongoing positive trend was even more clearly in evidence for investments in plants and machinery. 44% of respondents expected corresponding increases during the next six-month period. Having risen by 7%, this value was again much higher than in the previous survey.
Where the material is concerned, respondents still expected most important growth stimuli to come from CRP. This has not changed. When it comes to application engineering, the most hopeful industries for composites are currently automotive and aviation. When asked about regional expectations, respondents said they expected Germany to continue delivering major stimuli. Both Asia and Europe (except Germany) were down somewhat in significance, but continued to be important.
Compared with the previous survey, both the general economic situation and the companies’ own business situations were seen as less positive (see Fig. 4). These indicators, however, should not distract from a highly positive overall picture of the industry that continues to prevail. In all, satisfaction and optimism for the future continue at a very high level. It remains to be seen whether the slowdown is merely a temporary fluctuation or perhaps a general trend. Another fact which speaks for a positive development is that over half of all respondents said they expected to step up their companies’ involvement on the composite market.