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- The automotive seat market is anticipated to register a CAGR of about 3.2% during the forecast period (2020 – 2025).
- Slowdown of vehicle sales in Asia Pacific region, especially in India has hindered the growth of the market but Asia Pacific region is expected to exhibit a better growth rate during forecast period.
- Increasing passenger comfort has become one of the most important considerations in the passenger car market and seats are of much significance in this aspect. Seats should take as little space as possible and provide the maximum level of comfort. As a result, consistent development is taking place in this regard.
- Automotive manufacturers consider weight as one of the most important factors while manufacturing a vehicle. Seats account for 7-8% of total vehicle weight. Driver’s seat weighs around 27 kgs. It can be reduced by 16.71% to 22.7 kgs by using light materials. The total weight of seats which is around 93 kgs can be reduced by 26% to 70 kgs. Some manufacturers, such as Land Rover, have started making automobiles solely out of light materials, like aluminum, to cut down on weight.
- In order to further reduce the vehicle’s weight, automotive manufacturers are continuously exploring lightweight designs for seats. Carbon fiber is emerging as a strong candidate for lighter seats, but its high cost is impeding the progress.
- Due to intense competitive rivalry and margin pressure in the market, manufacturers are actively setting up bases in the emerging markets such as India and China to take advantage of the low labor costs. This trend may change the dynamics of the industry in the long run, and seat manufacturers may have to start setting up facilities in these emerging markets to stay competitive.
- The powered seat and ventilated seat segments are expected to record high CAGR, on account of the rising sales of luxury vehicles and the increasing adoption of such seats in the mid-segment. Ventilated seats help in temperature regulation which is helpful in reducing energy emissions through air conditioners, sunroofs, etc. Increased awareness about the intelligent seating solutions and values offered by the manufacturers have enhanced the perceived quality.
Key Market Trends
Increase in Production of Automobiles
Sales of passenger cars have been increasing across the world. In 2018, the global passenger cars production accounted for 95,634,593 units. China has the largest share in the passenger car market, followed by the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and India. Improving road infrastructure and rising disposable income of the middle-class consumers are driving the passenger car market in the developing countries. Competitive pricing of vehicles by automotive manufacturers has also created a huge demand for passenger cars in developing countries. Electric vehicle market is also expected to exhibit a significant growth rate during the study period.
This rise in demand for passenger cars resulted in a rise in automobile production and the subsequent growth in the demand for related components, like upholstery, seats, etc. Additionally, the industry is witnessing a consumer preference toward SUVs and MPVs that generally have more seats, as compared to hatchbacks and sedans. Overall, the growing passenger car market is acting as a major driver for the automotive seat market.
Additionally, the demand for commercial vehicles has been continually increasing owing to the growing e-commerce (resulting in growth in the logistics industry), construction, and mining industries. According to Eurostat, over 75% of inland cargo transports within the EU, i.e., about 1,750 billion metric ton-kilometer (tkm), travel by road. In some European countries, this rate goes as high as 90%, or more. As the e-commerce industry continues to grow across Europe, the demand for a more advanced distribution network is increasing. In 2017, freight transportation (between 50 km and 1,999 km) accounted for 89.1% of the total freight transportation, and as the market continues to expand, the demand for pick-up vans, small trucks, and other LCVs is also likely to increase. Thus, the rising demand for commercial vehicles is also expected to aid in propelling the growth of the automotive seat market.
China dominates the automotive seat market
Cost of manufacturing automotive seats is high in North America and Europe. In United States, many car seat manufacturers are severely hit by tariffs on components essential for making a car seat. For instance, Britax, a popular child car seat brand in the United States is considering shifting to China because of tariffs as high as 25% on textiles and 15% on metals.
The demand for leather seats in China is increasing due to increase in sales of premium cars. Customers are opting for more tailor-made solutions for comfort quality and appeal.
The government is also changing and making laws to ensure passenger safety. Currently, China does not have a compulsory car seat law, although places, such as Shanghai and Shandong province, have introduced regulations mandating the use of safety seats for children aged four years and below. Such initiatives are generating awareness among people and fueling the automotive seat demand in the country.
Another factor which is likely to fuel the demand of the car seat industry is the growing production of electric vehicles. Ventilated seats, which are used in electric vehicles, will witness a surge in demand over the future years, as more customers start purchasing electric vehicles. As China is the leader in the electric vehicle market, the demand for ventilated seats is likely to witness a significant growth over the forecast period in the country.
The automotive seat market is majorly held by a few players, who have a long-standing partnership with the major OEMs and are their preferred suppliers for seats.
Industry players are now resorting to strategies of joint ventures, acquisitions, expansion and collaboration. The biggest player Advent acquired Futuris group and has collaborated with Autoliv to address seating challenges for electric and autonomous cars. Shenyang Jinbei Automotive’s forms joint venture with Adient to produce automobile seats. Faurecia’s joint venture with Liuzhou Wuling Industry will produce automotive seating products. Magna join hands with BMW group to produce seating solutions and expands its seat trim facility in Siberia. Lear Corporation acquires seating business of Grupo Antolin’s Automotive.
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