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Markets for Textile-Based Artificial Turf
published in Issue 73, 2nd quarter 2008
The market for artificial turf amounted to about 600,000 tons in 2007 and had a value of Euro1.25 bn (US$1.71 bn). Europe was the largest region with 43% of sales in value terms while North America accounted for a further 28%. Global demand for artificial turf has been growing by 20% a year since 2000. Rapid growth has stemmed partly from technical improvements to artificial turf, which have led to greater acceptance of the product. The most common uses of artificial turf include sports pitchesespecially for football and hockeyas well as decorative grass in gardens and other landscaping projects.
FieldTurf Tarkett, one of 15 members of the European Synthetic Turf Organisation (ESTO), is a leading sports surfacing business with sales in 2007 of Euro222.7 mn (US$304.9 mn). The bulk of its revenues come from sales of artificial turf for ball sportssuch as American football, baseball, football (soccer) and rugby. However, the company also generates revenues from sales of other types of sporting surfaces, including those for golf courses, gymnasiums, indoor and outdoor running tracks, childrens playgrounds, tennis courts and weight rooms. TenCate Grass is the worlds leading producer of artificial turf fibres and components, including infill and backing. Low & Bonar produces a wide range of technical textile products, including artificial grass yarns and backing.
Football authoritiesas well as the sports players and fanshave fought long and hard for artificial turf to be accepted, and it appears that a corner has finally been turned. However, the Union Européenne de Football Association (UEFA) insists that artificial turf should only be considered an option where climatic conditions make it necessary. Thus further work is needed before it can gain ultimate approval.
Meanwhile, the importance of synthetic turf is accelerating in landscaping and decorative uses, and the attention of the industry is being attracted by the booming construction industry in the Middle East. But with artificial turf still confined mainly to industrialised countries, the industry is aware that developing countries, especially China and India, offer huge untapped potential in terms of future revenues.
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