Composites Germany releases 6th Composites Market Survey

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  • Investment climate continues to be positive
  • Still the same growth driver
  • Composites index down slightly

For the sixth time Composites Germany has identified up-to-date KPIs for the composites market (market for fibre-reinforced plastics). As before, the survey covered all the member companies of the four biggest umbrella organisations of Composites Germany: AVK, CCeV, CFK Valley and VDMA.
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.

Assessment of the general business situation

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 (see Fig. 1). 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.

Composite Survey: General business situation in Germany

Fig. 1: General business situation in Germany

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.

Assessments of companies’ own business situations

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 (see Fig. 2). The outcome was similar for their expectations worldwide and within Germany.

Composite Survey: Fig. 2: Future general business situation (Europe)

Fig. 2: Future general business situation (Europe)

Investment climate continues to be very positive

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.

Still the same growth driver

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 (see Fig. 3).

Composite Survey: Fig. 3: Growth stimuli – regions

Fig. 3: Growth stimuli – regions

Composites index down slightly

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.

Composite Survey: Fig. 4: Composites Development Index

Fig. 4: Composites Development Index

The next Composite Market Survey will be published in July 2016.

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