Global Bearings

Global demand for bearings is forecast to rise 5.0% per year through 2022, representing an improvement from the pace of the 2012-2017 period. Ongoing advances in the production of machinery and motor vehicles, by far the two largest bearing markets, will continue to drive demand gains. Preferences among end users for higher quality bearings that offer better performance and can operate longer will also promote gains.


Key Findings in the Global Bearings Study:

Due to Quick Advances in China and India, Asia Will Continue to Lead Globally

China and India – the world’s first and fifth largest bearing markets, respectively – are expected to register the fastest increases in bearing demand among major national markets. China is home to the world’s largest machinery and motor vehicle industries, which support a substantial amount of bearing demand in a given year. India’s economy is expected to continue to expand at a rapid pace as the country industrializes, causing bearing demand to significantly outperform all other national markets.

China will also continue to dominate global bearing production. The nation has historically been the leading supplier of lower cost, commodity-type bearings. However, China’s production is expected to shift to include higher quality bearings going forward. Domestic bearing suppliers are expected to increase production of better performing bearings to meet growing demand for these products among local end users. This shift will allow them to better compete in export markets, increasing the competitiveness in the global bearing industry as a whole.

Machinery and Motor Vehicles Will Remain the Largest Markets, but Growth Prospects Will Differ Through 2022

Machinery and motor vehicles each account for around one-third of yearly bearing demand. However, through 2022, the machinery market will outperform that of motor vehicles. Production of machinery will continue to post strong advances, reflecting:

  • growing industrialization efforts in developing countries
  • greater purchases of more advanced machinery to boost productivity and operating efficiencies in developed nations

Motor vehicle production, on the other hand, will slow because OEMs are increasingly using longer lasting, higher value bearings, which will dampen replacement sales.

Ball and Roller Bearings to Remain Dominant; Plain Bearings to Post Fastest Gains

Ball and roller bearings will continue to dominate the global bearings market due to their ability to be installed in most applications. However, plain bearings have continued to make inroads in applications – most notably machinery and vehicles – historically served by ball and roller bearings because the plain products can help end users reduce the weight of a piece of equipment, contributing to increased fuel efficiency.

Study Coverage

This study presents historical demand data (2007, 2012, and 2017) and forecasts for 2022 by product (ball bearing, roller bearing, plain bearing, other bearings and bearing parts), market (machinery, motor vehicles, aerospace equipment, motorcycles, other markets), and region (North America, Central & South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Africa/Mideast). The study also evaluates company market share and analyzes industry competitors including C&U, Iljin, JTEKT, Minebea, NSK, NTN, Schaeffler, SKF, thyssenkrupp, and Timken.

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