World demand for tires is projected to rise 4.1 percent per year to 3.0 billion units in 2019. In value terms, sales of tires are forecast to advance 7.0 percent per annum to US$258 billion. Rising incomes in developing regions will spur growth in the number of vehicles in use, fueling demand for tires. Higher income levels and expanding economic activity will also contribute to increases in average annual vehicle mileage, boosting replacement rates.
However, the increase in miles driven will be offset by rising tire quality, which will exert downward pressure on replacement rates. The motor vehicle market will remain the largest outlet for tire demand, accounting for two-thirds of the total in 2019. These and other trends are presented in World Tires, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
More than half of all tires are sold in the Asia/Pacific region, forecast to post the fastest regional growth in demand through 2019. China, which accounted for almost one-fourth of global tire demand in 2014, will remain one of the fastest growing national markets for tires. Several other countries in the Asia/Pacific region are also projected to achieve rapid gains in tire demand, particularly India, Indonesia, and Thailand. Japan, which holds the world’s fourth largest market for tires, will post disappointing sales and actually experience a contraction in demand over the forecast period. The developing Africa/Mideast region and Central and South America will post above average gains in tire sales, although each of these regions will remain below six percent of the global total in 2019.
Growth in demand for tires in North America and Western Europe will post meager gains of about one percent annually through 2019. Replacement tire markets in these regions are mature, as vehicle ownership rates are already very high. In addition, motor vehicle manufacturers have shifted their emphasis to siting facilities in developing regions, and many plants in Western Europe have been permanently closed, limiting opportunities for tires in OEM applications. Demand for tires in Eastern Europe will trail the global average but comfortably outperform Western Europe.