The stats continue to look good for the injection molding business, but the first quarter was rougher going than would have been expected given that NPE2015 was held in March and was second in size only to the show held in 2000.
There were a lot of factors to consider including a weaker U.S. economy impacted by one of the worst winters ever for part of the country. Overall, though, growth is continuing from the trough of 2009 and America remains the strongest market globally in terms of percentage growth.
The SPI Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES) today reported that the value of injection molding machinery shipped in the first three months of 2015 grew 1.4 percent compared with same quarter last year. New bookings of auxiliary equipment for all plastics processes totaled $105.4 million dollars in the first quarter, a 6.9 percent gain.
SPI Economist Bill Wood said: “It is particularly encouraging that the data from the entire plastics industry held up quite well in Q1. The macro-indicators from the first quarter indicate that the rate of growth in the U.S. GDP data may have been negative. The good news is that consumer confidence levels are holding up, and accelerating economic growth is expected for the rest of the year. The three main trends that will drive both economic growth and demand for plastics products persist. They are: low interest rates, low energy prices, and rising wages and household incomes resulting from stronger employment levels.” Wood first followed plastics as the economist for Plastics World Magazine, then based in Newton, Massachusetts.
The first quarter, however, was a disappointment compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.
The CES said that the shipments value of injection molding machinery advanced 7.7 percent in Q4 of 2014 when compared with the total from Q4 of 2013. For 2014 as a whole, shipments of injection molding machinery were up 5.3 percent when compared with the annual total from 2013.
A survey asking about the outlook yielded favorable results.
Ninety-eight percent of the respondents expect conditions to either improve or hold steady in the next three months. Ninety-six percent expect the market to be steady-to-better in the coming 12 months.
Separately, a firm called Industrial Market Research Reports forecast that the global injection molded plastics market will grow at a CAGR of 5.36 percent from 2015 through 2018. My take: injection molding will be a major player in automotive lightweighting strategies and in the miniaturization trends in medical and electronics.