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Natural and synthetic rubber - global consumption 1990-2019

In 2019, some 13.7 million metric tons of natural rubber and 15.3 million metric tons of synthetic rubber were consumed worldwide.

Rubber formats

Rubber has been commonly used by humankind for over 1,000 years. Rubber appears in two different forms: natural and synthetic. Both forms of rubber have a high tear resistance, heat resistance, chemical resistance, fluid resistance, and electrical resistance, which makes it a very useful material for a variety of applications. Both types of rubber have areas where they perform better than the other type, however natural rubber’s beneficial properties outweigh the performance of synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubber, which refers to any artificial elastomer, has the advantage that it is easier to produce than natural rubber.

The origins of natural and synthetic rubber

As the Amazonian rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) geographically originated in Central America, it follows that the indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica were the first people to use rubber. Some 3,500 years ago people in Mexico and Central America were already harvesting and using natural rubber in liquid forms for medicinal applications and for painting. Today however, most of the world’s natural rubber is produced in the Asia Pacific region. Butadiene, the first form of synthetic rubber to exist, was developed in 1910 and became prominent during the first World War due to shortages of natural rubber.

Rubber consumption today

Today, China is by far the largest consumer of natural rubber, at 5.5 million metric tons in 2019. India came in a distant second place that year. Rubber is used to make latex products, footwear, engineering, belting and hoses, and more. The majority of natural and synthetic rubber is consumed by the global automotive industry to produce tires and tubes for vehicles.

Consumption of natural and synthetic rubber worldwide from 1990 to 2019

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Sources

Release date

April 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

1990 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Added from another publication using the same source.
Figures for 2013-2018 were restated in the 2020 edition of the report.
This statistic was assembled using several editions of the report.

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Statistics on "Rubber industry worldwide"

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