Trends in key customer industries

  • Substantially weaker growth in global industrial production compared with 2014
  • Development in key customer industries also weaker than in previous year

Global industrial production grew by around 2% in 2015, considerably more slowly than in the previous year (+3.5%) and far below our expectation of 3.6%. It decelerated substantially in both the advanced economies (2015: +0.9%, 2014: +2.4%) and in the emerging markets (2015: +3.1%, 2014: +4.6%).

In the European Union, industrial growth was able to expand slightly from 1.3% to 1.5%, whereas North America saw a substantial overall decline from 3.4% to 1.2%. At 5.4%, industrial growth in the emerging markets of Asia remained around 1.7 percentage points behind the previous year’s levels. Industry in China grew at only 6.1%, a rate considerably slower than in previous years. South America fell into a downright slump: Industrial production in Brazil shrank by 8.4%.

Against this backdrop, growth in key customer industries and in the chemical industry also remained below prior-year levels. Automotive manufacturing saw considerably slower growth due to sales developments in China, South America and Russia. In the construction industry, China’s economic cooldown and the sharp decline in construction activities in Russia and Brazil led to lower growth rates worldwide. Agriculture grew by 2.1%, somewhat behind the previous year’s rate but with regional developments varying widely.

Growth in key customer industries
(Real change compared with previous year1)
Growth in key customer industries, Real change compared with previous year (bar chart)

1 Figures that refer to previous years could deviate from last year’s report due to statistical revisions.

BASF sales by industry
(Direct customers)



Chemicals and plastics | Energy and resources



Consumer goods | Transportation



Agriculture | Construction



Health and nutrition | Electronics