Off-the-road tyres: a fast-growing market

OTR tyres for work and agricultural vehicles represent a very distinctive branch in an already complex tyre landscape. It is a market segment made up of tyres that have a limited but no less interesting field of application, also by virtue of recent growing trends. The projections, if they differ in terms of figures, do however agree on market trends expected to be positive for several years to come. TechSci Research prepared a report interviewing industry managers and executives and concluded that the global OTR tyre market was worth USD 23,773 million in 2021. The analysts also drew up estimates predicting an annual increase of 6.66 per cent to $35,281 million in 2027. The growth, according to TechSci Research, is to be attributed largely to increased activity in the infrastructure construction sector, which in turn is catalysed by globalisation and public and private investment in construction and mining. These activities are likely to stimulate not only the demand for new tyres but also the replacement market for OTR tyres due to increased vehicle usage.
Farming on the rise
The same trend of increased activity will favour the agricultural tyre market. In fact, an increase in the use of agricultural equipment is following the growth of medium-sized farms with the financial strength to purchase tractors, threshers and similar machinery. Furthermore, farmers are increasingly looking at purchasing advanced machines due to the increase in labour costs, and this will likely have an impact on greater productivity. Other driving factors are the rapid population growth and the aforementioned increase in rural income levels - this trend is also evident in urban centres - which has led to the expansion of demand for agricultural products (which will also see an increase in their diversity), which in turn has led to the expansion of farming activities and the resulting need for suitable machinery. Therefore, the global fleet of OTR vehicles and the demand for tyres, along with replacement tyres for machines already in service, is bound to increase.
Globalisation increases the demand for and the use of sustainable raw materials
The Covid-19 pandemic had severely affected international supply chains and suggested a retreat from globalisation. However, this phenomenon recovered quite vigorously and has generated, in most emerging countries, significant growth in manufacturing industries and building and infrastructure construction with significant investments in highways, bridges and tunnels to improve travel, supply chains and trade. The Global Infrastructure Outlook assigns to infrastructure development most of the investments in the coming years. The OTR tyre industry is focusing on the use of more sustainable materials and the use of active reagents and composites that can reduce material demand and overall production costs. Equally notable is a trend towards the development of lighter OTR tyres with low rolling resistance, a trend that can be seen in the global tyre industry along with the increasing use of new labelling standards. The geographic distribution of the OTR tyre market sees Asia Pacific dominating with a market share of around 60%, followed by North America with 13%; followed by Europe (11%), the Middle East & Africa (9%) and South America, with 6% of the global market.
Diagonal treads to the fore
A further projection was issued by Transparency Market Research, which agrees on the growing trend of OTR tyres. The different methodology leads to different but still growing numerical results: the market will grow from USD 2,900 million this year to USD 3,900 million in 2031, a growth that will take place at a compound annual rate of 3.5 per cent per year. Again, increased investment in construction, agriculture, infrastructure and mining, including fossil fuel extraction and activities related to new technologies such as decarbonisation and the growth of electronic equipment are mentioned as key factors for growth. The use of heavy construction equipment optimises the use of resources and therefore their increasing use drives OTR tyre sales. The study also analyses the OTR market from the perspective of their construction, noting that in 2022 the diagonal segment had a share of 58.3%, a majority share that is expected to be confirmed in the future given the advantages of these tyres, compared to radial tyres, in use in difficult conditions and with high loads.
The prevalence of OEMs
OTR diagonal tyres are widely used in Asia Pacific and South America, while demand for radial tyres is increasing in North America and Europe. The solid tyre segment is also expected to grow, mainly due to increased sales of forklifts and warehouse equipment. Transparency Market Research also estimates the development of the global OTR tyre market by sales channel, with the OEM segment seeing a 62.5% share in 2022 and growing at a compound annual rate of over 3.2% during the forecast period, i.e. until 2031. It is also expected that the OE segment will increasingly adopt OTR radial tyres as this type is improving in durability and resistance to difficult roads thanks to significant technological advancements. However, the aftermarket segment will still hold a significant market share by the end of the forecast period as OTR tyres wear out quickly due to the harsh working conditions they are forced to endure, and the increase in work and construction vehicles will increase the demands for replacement of these tyres.
The most dynamic areas
This study also points to a likely prominent role for the Asia-Pacific region in the near future, with growth in the off-road tyre market promoted by increased infrastructural development and expansion in the agricultural sector. Demand for OTR tyres, for example, is expected to increase in China, India, Asean (South-East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and others) and Oceania. Trailing the Asia Pacific market will be North America and Europe. The OTR market in Europe will expand during the forecast period with a significant contribution from solid tyres used in the industry. The Middle East and Africa will also see an expansion in the off-road tyre sector driven by increased construction and mining activities.