Trends in key customer industries

  • Global industrial production growth significantly faster than in previous year
  • Chemical industry’s key customer sectors grow at rates comparable with 2013

Global industrial production grew by 3.4% in 2014, significantly faster than in the previous year (+2.9%) but somewhat below our forecast of 3.7%. Growth only picked up in the industrialized countries (2014: +2.6%; 2013: +1.0%), especially in the United States. Industrial production in western Europe was able to see slight gains after declines in the previous two years. By contrast, the emerging markets showed somewhat slower industrial growth (2014: +4.3%, 2013: +4.8%), primarily reflecting the deceleration of growth in China.

Most key customer sectors of the chemical industry grew at a similar rate as in 2013. Development in the transportation and construction industries was markedly different from region to region. While automobile production in the European Union once again grew considerably, the automotive industry’s robust growth slackened in Asia and the United States. The construction industry in the European Union was able to boast slight gains for the first time since 2007. By contrast, growth was in part considerably weaker for the construction industry in the United States, Japan, China and South America.

Agriculture grew markedly slower than in 2013. In North and South America, growth was more modest compared with the previous year’s rates, which were in part very high. Growth in agricultural production declined in eastern Europe.

Growth in key customer industries – Real change compared with previous year
Growth in key customer industries, Real change compared with previous year (bar chart)

BASF sales by industry
Direct customers



Chemicals and plastics | Energy and resources

10 – 15%


Consumer goods | Transportation

5 – 10%


Agriculture | Construction



Health and nutrition | Electronics