A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts global demand for bearings to grow 5.2% per year to $100 billion in 2025, rebounding from lows in 2020. Sales will climb rapidly during the post-pandemic period, fueled by:
- improving economic conditions around the world and a recovery in global consumer spending (from lows in 2020)
- the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and people
- increasing durable goods manufacturing activity, particularly of motor vehicles
- rising foreign investment in the manufacturing sectors of Asia/Pacific, Africa/Mideast, Central and South American, and East European countries
- the development of new, state-of-the-art bearings technologies and the growing use of more sophisticated bearings in developing nations
However, competition from alternative technologies (e.g., fluid and magnetic bearings), together with the ongoing shift from ICE to electric (which require fewer bearings) motor vehicles, will constrain even larger gains.
Ball and roller bearings to remain top applications through 2025
Ball and roller bearings will continue to comprise the largest share of sales in dollar terms, as they are well-established technologies and are necessary in the manufacture of wide range of products. Additionally, these product types are more expensive than plain bearings, which are also used widely around the world and seeing increased use in applications such as aerospace equipment and wind turbine manufacturing.
The decision about which bearings to use is mainly determined by the specific requirements of the application being considered:
- In some instances, manufacturers have the option of using several different product types and can take other factors into consideration (e.g., price), while more demanding applications may require a specific type of bearing.
- While most types of bearings have similar growth prospects because of the wide range of uses for each, market share in specific applications can change. For instance, technological innovation has allowed roller bearings to operate at higher speeds; as a result, roller bearings made inroads in some applications that were historically dominated by ball bearings.
Want to Learn More?
Global Bearings is now available from the Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the global bearing industry by product, market, and region. Historical data (2010, 2015, 2020) and forecasts for 2025 and 2030 are provided for shipments, demand, and net exports of bearings in current US dollars at the manufacturers’ level.
Bearing products include:
- unmounted ball bearings
- unmounted roller bearings (tapered, spherical, needle, cylindrical)
- unmounted plain bearings (journal; spherical; thrust and other plain bearings)
- mounted and combined ball/roller bearings (e.g., flange, hanger, pillow block, take-up)
- separately sold bearing parts (including balls, rollers, cages, cups, rings, housing closures, seals, shields, spacers)
Bearing markets include:
- motor vehicles (e.g., automobiles; light, medium, and heavy trucks; recreational vehicles; mini-buses and shuttles; all-terrain vehicles; motor coaches and transit buses; vans)
- aerospace (e.g., airplanes, drones, helicopters, rockets, satellites, space vehicles)
- motorcycles, including internal combustion engine and electric moped, motorcycles, and scooters
- other markets (e.g., appliances; bicycles; boats, ships, and other marine equipment; electronics and electrical equipment; instruments; medical products; military hardware; railway equipment; sports equipment; wind turbines)