Continuing decline in composites business sentiment
For the 13th time, the trade association Composites Germany e.V., Berlin/Germany, has released current key performance indicators (KPI) for the fiber-reinforced plastics market. Again, the survey covered all the member companies of the 4 biggest umbrella organizations of Composites Germany: AVK, CCeV, CFK-Valley and the VDMA Working Group on Hybrid Lightweight Construction Technologies.
The last survey already included a fairly cautious evaluation of the business situation and this decline in sentiment continues to cast a cloud over the current survey.
In the last study, 69% of respondents rated the situation in Germany as generally or even very positive – in the current survey this number has fallen to 64%. In other words, 1/3 of respondents now view the current business situation (see Fig.) with some degree of concern. Respondents have a similar assessment of the other regions considered in the survey (worldwide and Europe).
Not only do they view the general business situation more critically than in the last survey, they are also more pessimistic about their own individual business situations. While 83% of the respondents rated their own business situation worldwide as positive or even very positive in the last survey, this figure has now dropped to 64%.
In contrast to the rather negative evaluation of the current and future business situation, investment climate indicators (capital investment and HR planning) continue to be quite positive. For example, only 8% of respondents expect a reduction in employee numbers, while 30% expect to hire new staff. Correspondingly, 37% of those surveyed expect their companies to become even more involved in composites in the future. Only 2% expect their involvement in the sector to decline.
There is a key change in the growth drivers influencing the composites market. While recent surveys have always identified the automotive and aerospace sectors as the sectors of application expected to provide the most important growth stimuli, this picture is currently changing. Above all, there are currently serious concerns about the automotive sector. Nearly every second respondent expects a decline in this application segment.
As before, to ensure a smooth comparison with the previous surveys, the questions in this half-yearly survey had been left unchanged. Once again, the data obtained in the survey was largely qualitative in relation to current and future market developments.
Fig.: Business situation in Germany in H1/2019