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Synthetic Leather Market: Exploring Sustainable Prospects

Chemicals and Material

07, February 2023

The history of synthetic leather dates back to the mid-19th century when it was produced in response to a limited supply of natural leather. Pyroxylin-infused cotton fabric was among the earliest substitutes, largely used in bookbinding and upholstery. Since then, this sector has grown tremendously for the right reasons. With growing consumer consciousness about animal cruelty and technological advancements, materials like polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) have gained traction to enhance the durability and versatility of faux leather, making it ideal for use in footwear, clothing, furniture, and automotive interiors. Our estimates signify that the global synthetic leather market will reap revenue worth $57.90 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.48% during the forecast period 2023-2030.

For businesses, synthetic leather has opened various opportunities owing to its durability and water-resistant properties, required elements for products to withstand the test of time. For instance, BASF’s synthetic leather includes thermoplastic PU Elastollan offering wear resistance to car seats.

While the varied material composition is one aspect, the veganism trend has widened the overall scope of the synthetic leather market.

Rise of Faux Leather: Vegan Uprising Intersects Durable Design

Vegan fashion has emerged as a prominent topic, in addition to sustainability and digitalization, in the textile and fashion industry. According to PETA, cow leather harms the environment almost 6 times more than plant-based fabric. And thus, the growing awareness about animal cruelty, in addition to the demand for cost-effective, durable products, has influenced several brands to collaborate with famous personalities to expand their footing in the vegan space. For instance, Converse partnered with actor Millie Bobby Brown to launch its line of vegan shoes, whereas singer Justin Bieber launched a fashion line named Drew House, with a 100% vegan range.

As per PETA, high-fashion events such as Helsinki Fashion Week have also banned leather clothing. Even the likes of Versus Versace and Givenchy promoted eco-leather products to gain the attention of millennial consumers. Triton’s analysis states that during the forecast period 2023-2030, the clothing category is expected to witness revenue growth at a CAGR of 6.68%, which will facilitate lucrative opportunities for manufacturers in the faux leather market.

Moreover, the market is growing as the vegan population soars globally, especially in the UK, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, and others. As per the Vegan Society, over the decade, the vegan population base surged from approximately 150, 000 to around 542, 000 in the UK. This demographic shift resulted in around a 36% increase in plant-based shoes in 2021 across the nation. Hence, with more consumers hopping on this trend, regions like Europe have immense development potential during the forecast years.

Bio-Based Leather: An Ecological Opportunity

A common misconception is vegan products are biodegradable. In reality, they are animal-free but might include components like PU and PVC that are not sustainable. This has prompted high demand for bio-based materials, including flax, cactus, cotton, corn, and soybean, to produce synthetic leather. Among these fabrics, pineapple-based leather – Pinatex has gained immense popularity, with brands like Hugo Boss, Nike, and Altiir, including it in the manufacturing process.

Similarly, the growing use of bio-based leather in the automotive sector is another key trend. In terms of end-use, the automotive industry is likely to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of 8.24%. This development is backed by automakers like Bentley that have included plant leather in its electric vehicle interior. Besides this, the increasing need for lightweight materials with various hues and textures have offered lucrative opportunities for contenders to innovate their portfolio and gain market dominance by including bio-based materials.

Our report analysis indicates the bio-based leather type is estimated to register the fastest growth at a CAGR of 8.51% over the 2023-2030 forecast period.

Further, analysis by Triton portrays that despite the high cost compared to PU and PVC leather, bio-based materials will witness high growth across North America and Europe markets. In the US, the developed automotive industry, cutting-edge processing technologies, skilled workforce, and expanding R&D are key growth enablers for the North America synthetic leather market.

Synthetic Leather Market: Growing Applications offer Limitless Possibilities

For years, synthetic leather was used for footwear, which was later modernized with the advent of the automotive and digital age. Ever since, artificial leather has gained significance in several applications as a cost-effective solution, a most sought-after attribute among industrial manufacturers.

Clothing, automotive, and footwear are popular end-user sectors. However, the application has extended to machine belts, gloves, bags, wallets, upholstery purposes, etc. These uses have ultimately influenced strategic steps like Prada’s opening of around 27 stores in the Asia-Pacific. Such developments are set to propel growth opportunities for the global synthetic leather market.


Q1) What is the synthetic leather market size?

The global synthetic leather market attained revenue worth $32.53 billion in 2022 and is expected to reap $57.90 billion by 2030.

Q2) Which are the key end-users of synthetic leather?

Clothing, furnishing, footwear, automotive, and bags & wallets are key end-users of synthetic leather.


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