The worldwide market for medium voltage soft starters was worth an estimated $170 million in 2010, with more than 5,000 units shipped during the year. Sales of these products contracted significantly in 2009 as a result of the global economic downturn, and the market recovery in 2010 was very gradual. However, high commodity prices and robust demand from regions like Asia Pacific and the Middle East are expected to help the market grow by nearly 10% in 2011. As long as commodity prices remain at their current levels or move higher, and if growth in emerging economies does not slow significantly, the market should experience several years of healthy growth through 2015. These are some of the latest findings from the 2011 Medium Voltage MCCs & Soft Starters study just published by IMS Research.
The Chinese market for medium voltage soft starters was the largest in the world in 2010, valued at more than $41 million and representing nearly one quarter of the total revenues. The US market was second largest, valued at an estimated $34 million during the year which was 20.0% of the global market. The Central and Eastern Europe regional market is the third largest because it includes the Russian market, which is estimated to be substantial due to several indigenous suppliers active in the Cheboksary region of the country. This regional market is estimated to be valued at over $33 million in 2010, representing another 20% of total market revenues. Western Europe and the Middle East also account for notable parts of the global market, with respective shares of 11% and 7% of total revenues.
IMS Research estimates that pumping applications account for 60% to 70% of the entire medium voltage soft starters market. It is therefore not surprising that industry sectors which include a significant amount of pumping operations, such as oil & natural gas, power generation and water & wastewater are the biggest vertical markets for medium voltage soft starters. According to Alex Chausovsky, the Research Director of IMS Electric Motors group, "oil & natural gas sector accounted for one third of the entire medium voltage soft starters market in 2010, while metals, mining and water & wastewater represented another third of global market revenues. Sales of medium voltage soft starters into these vertical markets are forecast to outperform the overall market through 2015, but the oil & natural gas industry is predicted to experience the fastest growth during this period with revenues increasing by an average of more than 12% per year." This is notably higher than the overall market growth forecast, which calls for revenues to grow by less than 9% per year during the same timeframe.