Global Market of Major Four Li-ion Battery Components: Key Research Findings 2020
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the global market of major four Li-ion (lithium ion) battery components and found out the trends of applications (small consumer equipment and vehicles), the shipment trends of major four Li-ion battery components, the trends of capital investment by country, and of component prices, etc.
The global market size of major four Li-ion (lithium ion) battery components in 2020, based on the shipment values at manufacturers, is estimated to decline to US$20,038,117 thousand, 95.5% of that of the previous year. The market size in 2019 rose to US$20,979,873 thousand, 106.7% of the previous year.
The Chinese market, which had driven the growth of global automotive Li-ion batteries through incentive-oriented policy, has shown some slowdown in the growth rate, seemingly due to decreased subsidies.
The average market prices of all the four major components, i.e. cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator, are on the fall, chiefly for automotive Li-ion batteries, which is bringing about the value-based growth rate to fall short of the volume-based growth rate. Although some components seem to have started bottoming out by the latter half of 2020, the market size throughout 2020 is forecasted to decline from the previous year, considering stagnant shipment during the first half of the year affected by COVID-19 pandemics. As the Chinese government has decided to extend granting of the subsidy until 2022 and as European countries plan to implement the regulation on standard CO2 emission to be 95g/km for 2021, OEMs are encouraged to move on to EVs, which is likely to further increase xEV production for the future.
As for small-consumer device applications, the demand for Li-ion batteries for laptops and tablets has risen by tele-workers and educational institutions, as teleworkers as well as students studying at home increased due to COVID-19 pandemics. As the orbits of growth expected to return to normal after 2021, the global major four Li-ion battery components market is projected to continue expanding, driven mainly by automotive-cell applications.
While Predominance by Chinese Components Remains, Future Power Relationship in European Market May Make Difference
When observing the 2019 composition ratio of major four Li-ion battery components in shipment volume by country, China maintains the dominance of all of the four major components. Hereafter, however, whether or not Chinese manufacturers of Li-ion battery components can keep being dominant seems to be dependent on positioning in production in European countries.
Japanese manufacturers have managed to keep occupying 30% or so of the separators market share, but their market shares of cathode, anode and electrolyte have respectively declined from that in 2018. Some manufacturers are considering withdrawal from supplying some of those components to Chinese Li-ion battery cell manufacturers due to fiercer price competition.
In South Korea, the market of major four Li-ion battery components continues to primarily aim at supplying South Korean Li-ion battery manufacturers. Relatively new market players such as POSCO CHEMICAL (cathode, anode) and Enchem (electrolyte) are increasing their shipment volume, and are likely to gradually show major presence in the future, driven by the growing shipment volume for South Korean battery manufacturers.
In Europe, while Umicore, a Belgian manufacturer has been the market leader in cathode, BASF and Johnson Matthey are building up their strength in cathode, too. However, no other remarkable headway has been made by European battery component manufacturers in the areas of anode, electrolyte and separator. Meanwhile, European regulators are considering making new rules to assess xEVs, which are based on life cycle assessment (LCA) standards. This move is likely to affect the current power relationship among Li-ion battery manufacturers in Japan, China and South Korea.
The global market of major four Li-ion (lithium ion) battery components in 2020, based on the shipment value at manufacturers, is estimated to decline by 4.5% from the previous year. The growth orbits, however, are expected to return to normal after 2021, by which the demand for major four Li-ion battery components to continue expansion.
On the other hand, as COVID-19 pandemics have affected to shrink the entire automobile market, it is not realistic to forecast the sole growth of xEVs with their seemingly lower profitability than internal combustion engine vehicles.
Although the xEV market keeps strong growth in Europe even in COVID-19 calamity, the market is likely to be affected by government subsidies. Led by Northvolt, many new Li-ion battery manufacturers in Europe are planning to invest in large, GWh-scale facilities. In China, independent growth from the government in the xEV market is expected after extend subsidies until 2022, against the backdrop of the enhancement in environmental regulations together with further evolutions in automotive Li-ion battery technologies. In Europe, it is ideal to see the growth of lithium-ion cells in harmony with that of the xEV market. Hereafter, deliberate decision making is required for successful mid-to-long-term capital investment at Li-ion battery component manufacturers.
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