Global marine composites market set to grow – Frost & Sullivan

The study, Strategic Analysis of the Global Marine Composites Market, covers polymer matrix composites and foam core materials used in marine recreational vessels such as powerboats, sailboats, jetboats and personal watercrafts.

Composites can help reduce weight, create higher impact strength, enhance fuel efficiency and design flexibility of vessels. 

"Due to their superior performance, composites like carbon fibre reinforced polymers and glass fibre reinforced polymers are becoming more popular than traditional materials such as steel or aluminium," says Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Sandeepan Mondal.

"For instance, a 35-ft yacht's primary load-bearing structures, such as the hull, rig and deck, are made out of a carbon and epoxy composite and a carbon and polyurethane foam core sandwich, resulting in significant weight reduction, as well as greater strength and firmness."

Composite suppliers must widen their product portfolio and engage in large-scale joint development activities with existing marine original equipment manufacturers and Tier I suppliers to ensure market expansion.
Sandeepan Mondal, industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan

Despite these benefits, Frost & Sullivan says that the poor reparability and recyclability of composites can restrain their adoption to an extent. Styrene legislations also limit the uptake of low-cost polyester resins, and the perception that composites are expensive further curbs new investments in the manufacturing of composite marine parts.

These cost concerns, along with the economic downturn, forced several small boat builders to exit the market, restricting the growth in use of advanced composites to larger vessels during 2008 to 2010, Frost & Sullivan reports.

The downturn likewise affected the purchasing power of consumers, the market analyst reports, reducing the sale of marine recreational vessels. Consumers' caution in spending their savings on a luxurious activity like boating has led to a decline in marine sales, which has eventually hampered growth in the marine composites market.

Developing and marketing composite solutions that comply with evolving styrene legislations and possess faster processing time will strengthen competitive advantage in the long term, notes Frost & Sullivan.