A Growing Industry Worldwide, Despite Lack of Hard Numbers

The synthetic turf industry is experiencing rapid growth – all numeric indicators point to a banner year in 2015 and beyond for the turf industry.  For competitive reasons, companies in the synthetic grass industry keep a tight lid on their sales, market share and potential growth figures. However, the Synthetic Turf Council has said that the market for synthetic grass is already over $500 million a year and is growing very quickly.

The Council also suggests that the share of product sold for artificial lawns (compared with sport fields or other uses) is the fastest growing segment of the industry, increasing nearly 80% a year.

TenCate, a Dutch manufacturer of plastics used in artificial grasses, said in its annual report that “the volume of the global market (for artificial grass) will increase by an average of approximately 15% (annually) in the coming years.” The manufacturer further said there will be “an increasing demand in the market for fibers that bear a stronger optical resemblance to natural grass.”

As droughts continue to plauge many parts of the US and the world synthetic grass use will increase.  In CA specofocally the California drought boosts synthetic turf businesses as homeowners turn to artificial grass for a number of reasons. As drought-conscious Californians look for ways to reduce their water consumption, business is blooming for the synthetic turf industry.

Synthetic turf is also popular in Southwestern states such as Arizona, but Southern California represents most the areas with the most demand.  Turf’s popularity is also tied to rising water rates and the Metropolitan Water District’s lawn removal rebate program, which offers South Bay residents at least $2 per square foot of grass removed.

But drought awareness isn’t the only reason people are switching to fake grass. The quality and appearance of synthetic turf has improved dramatically since the first major installation went into the Houston Astrodome in 1966. (“AstroTurf” is actually an eponym for the company that produced the synthetic turf field for the Texas football team.)

More complex fibers give 21st century turf a more realistic look, while ground-up rubber pellets from old tires provide a softer surface for synthetic sports field.