Last Update:
March 1, 2012

Trends in key customer industries

Development of industrial production in 2011

  • Global industrial production growth at a high level (+4.7%)
  • Strongest growth in Asia’s emerging markets
  • Significant growth in the electronics industry (+6.6%) and consumer goods industry (+5.9%)

Following the previous year’s strong upturn (+7.2%), growth in global industrial production reached a high level in 2011 (+4.7%), but was lower than our forecast (+5.0%). Of all regions, Asia’s emerging markets posted the strongest growth in industrial production (+10.4%). Growth was considerably weaker in the industrialized countries of the OECD (+2.2%), mostly as a result of production outages in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in March 2011.

Growth in key customer industries in 2011
Real change compared with the previous year

Growth in key customer industries in 2011 (bar chart)

The transportation sector posted solid growth (+5.2%). The number of automobiles produced worldwide rose substantially (+5.7%), despite major production outages in Japan (–19.0%). Automotive production in the United States continued to show strong growth in 2011 (+9.5%). In the European Union, automotive production on a per-unit basis again grew significantly compared with the previous year (+10.0%).

The energy and resources sector also benefited from the general economic development and posted robust growth (+3.1%).

The construction sector overall recovered noticeably (+3.9%). But this development varied widely from region to region: In the United States (+1.0%), Japan (+1.2%) and the European Union (+1.1%), the construction industry grew only slowly due to existing overcapacities. By contrast, Asia’s emerging markets posted a considerable increase over the previous year (+7.9%).

The consumer goods industry (+5.9%) benefited in 2011 from high demand worldwide in its important subindustries. Production increased sharply in the electrical industry in particular (+9.3%), although growth in Japan slowed down following production outages (+4.2%). Growth in this sector was driven by the electrical industry in Asia’s emerging markets (+14.4%). The textile industry also grew considerably worldwide (+5.5%). Asia (excluding Japan) posted the most substantial rise in textile production (+7.4%). The paper industry grew worldwide (+3.1%), although growth halved compared with the previous year. While growth in Asia’s emerging markets was above average (+10.4%), paper production increased only slightly in the industrialized countries (+0.7%).

Within the electronics industry (+6.6%), information and communication technology posted the strongest growth. In Japan, growth declined due to production outages, especially in semiconductor manufacturing.

The health and nutrition sector grew sharply worldwide (+3.6%). The food industry in particular posted significant growth (+3.6%). Production grew considerably faster in emerging markets (+7.7%) than in the industrialized countries (+1.1%).

Agriculture posted average growth worldwide in 2011 (+2.2%). Production declined slightly in the industrialized countries (–1.3%) as a result of both weather conditions as well as the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. By contrast, favorable weather conditions and higher prices for agricultural products led to a production increase in emerging markets (+3.9%).

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BASF sales by industry
Direct customers







> 15%

Chemicals and plastics | Energy and resources


Consumer goods | Transportation


Agriculture | Construction industry

< 5%

Health and nutrition | Electronics

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