Global Market of Major Four LiB (Lithium Ion Battery) Components: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the global market of major four LiB (lithium ion battery) components and has found out the trends of using LiB such as for small consumer equipment as well as for vehicles, the shipment trends of major four LiB components, trends of capital investment by country, and of prices for those components.
The global major four LiB (lithium ion battery) components market in 2018 is estimated at US$ 19,667,424 thousand, 134.2% of the size of the previous year, based on the shipment value at manufacturers (see Table & Figure 1). Since 2016, the market has been boosted by the automotive LiB market. With the subsidies granted, the automotive LiB market in China has kept on growing, but the environmental regulations enacted in 2019 may change the market conditions. Meanwhile, the demand for LiB components by foreign automakers has at last started increasing in order for them to enhance their product portfolio of xEVs (i.e., mild hybrid electric vehicles (M-HEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and electric vehicles.) Furthermore, as the world’s strictest standard on CO2 emission (95g/km) is to be implemented in Europe by 2021, the demand for major four components for automotive LiB is likely to expand at least until the first half of 2020.
As for small consumer LiBs, the batteries for smartphones that used to be the driving force, turned for the worse, failing to reach the sales in the previous year. On the other hand, the new demands for LiB batteries including power tool batteries (i.e., those for electric tools or for electric motorcycles), as well as the battery cells for new products such as Bluetooth earbuds/earphones and Bluetooth speakers and other audio devices have grown to encourage the whole market, the tendency of which is likely to go on for 2019. Such favorable market conditions are likely to boost the global major four LiB (lithium ion battery) components market in 2019 to attain US$ 22,661.662 million, 115.2% of the size of the previous year.
China Keeps Predominance, but Market Share May Change after 2021
Chinese makers kept its predominance in the 2018 global market of major four LiB (lithium ion battery) components based on the shipment volume at manufacturers. As for the global market share by country (by shipment volume base), China dominated 63.6% of the cathode market, 74.0% of anode, 69.7% of electrolyte, and 56.7% of separator. In addition to more than 60% of global market share in cathode, anode, and electrolyte, China is now about to occupy 60% also in separators (see Table 2).
Since the government plans to grant subsidies until 2020, the Chinese LiB component makers are likely to remain major presence until around that year, but their growth may become stagnant after 2021. The environmental regulations enforced in 2019 are likely to trigger the Chinese xEV (M-HEV, HEV, PHEV, EV, etc.) market to go through a shift from subsidy-led business to market-led business, bringing about fiercer competition with foreign LiB component makers. In the situation where the LiB makers may face restructuring or withdrawal in the future, foreign LiB component makers seem to supply their products to only the major lithium ion battery makers such as CATL, whereas the Chinese domestic LiB component makers may suffer from difficult conditions, struggling to find ways to supply to major domestic battery makers as well as to overseas makers.
Japanese makers remain occupying 30% of the separators market share, but their market share for other components are from 10 to 20-something percentages. For the future, the LiB component market in Japan is likely to be driven by automotive batteries, as more automakers from both Europe and Japan to focus on EVs.
The major four LiB components market in South Korea continues to primarily aim at South Korean LiB makers. Until recently, the components were mainly supplied for small consumer-use batteries, but gradually, those for automotive batteries have been on the rise. In addition, with the shipment by POSCO CHEMICAL (cathode, anode) and Enchem (electrolyte) is growing, such makers is likely to show major presence in the future, encouraged by expanding product portfolios of EVs (M-HEV, HEV, PHEV, EV, etc.) at European automakers.
As the environmental regulations having started in 2019 in China and the strictest standard on CO2 emission (95g/km) to start in Europe by 2021, production of xEVs (M-HEV, HEV, PHEV, EV, etc.) at automakers are to be encouraged until the first half of 2020s. Therefore, the production of automotive LiBs, too, is likely to expand, bringing about major four LiB components to continue increasing as well.
On the other hand, however, Chinese LiB components market players, that have led the global market, is likely to place importance more on cost rather than capacity, as the Chinese government discontinuing granting subsidies, possibly making them appraise more on LFP cathode and dry-process separators, which may require different approaches from the conventional one, i.e., to pursue only high capacity batteries. Also, life value may become significant in developing LiB components, in addition to large capacity, from the viewpoint of reusing of batteries, which may alter the demand for the four major LiB components.
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