Uses for polyamides include: in textiles; in carpets; as engineering plastics; as ropes; in food packaging films; in sporting equipment; in 3-D printing; as electrical insulation; and as cable covering.
In the 2012-2013 time frame, according to marketing sales reports, global polyamide sales for all uses came to about $22 billion. And, about 45% of these sales were in the European Union; 25% in NAFTA countries; 25% in Asian countries, with 5% in the rest of the world.
With an estimated 500 million people and 45% of the $22 billion polyamide global sales, the European Union had about $20 of polyamide sales per person in 2013 (0.45 X $22 billion polyamide sales/500 million people). In NAFTA, the per person polyamide sales was about 40% less at about $12 per person (0.25 X $22 billon polyamide sales/444 million people). Assuming Asia’s population at 4.4 billion, the per person polyamide sales is at about $1 per person (0.25 X $22 billion polyamide sales/4.4 billion people). And, per person sales for the rest of the world would be about the same as for Asia (0.05 X 22 billion polyamide sales/1.6 billion people).
This regional per person polyamides sales data suggests an enormous potential for polyamide sales in Asia and in emerging economies as their economies mature. For example, in Asia, assuming a 4.4 billion population, if the per person polyamide sales in 2013 was $5 instead of $1 per person, annual sales would have increased by about $18 billion ($5 per person X 4.4 billion people less $1 per person X 4.4 billion people).
My guess is that for many of the uses of polyamides, substitution products are not likely to take away substantial sales of the polyamide products. So, if European Union per person polyamide sales represent a potential per person Asian sales in polyamides, it is not surprising that chemical companies continue to maintain and invest in their polyamide production and technology.