This page provides a list of the world’s major bearing manufacturers and an analysis of each company’s global market share and market size. The bearing industry is known as the “rice of machinery” and is an essential component of industrial machinery and automotive parts, and has been dominated by Japanese, US and European manufacturers such as SKF, Schaeffler, NSK, NTN and Timken.
Bearing Industry Market Share
Using each bearing manufacturer’s sales for fiscal 2020 as the numerator and the market size as the denominator, a simple calculation of the global market share of the bearing industry in 2020 shows SKF AB in first place with 7.6%, Schaeffler in second with 4.4%, and NSK in third with 3.7%.
- No.1 SKF 7.6%
- No.2 Schaeffler 4.4%
- No.3 NSK 3.7%
- No.4 NTN 3.0%
- No.5 JTEKT 2.6%
- No.6 C&U 2.2%
- No.7 Timken 1.9%
- No.8 Rothe Erde 1.2%
- No.9 MinebeaMitsumi 0.9%
- No.10 Fujikoshi 0.5%
- No.11 Nippon Thompson 0.3%
- No.12 Wafangdian Bearing 0.2%
The world’s largest bearing manufacturer is SKF of Sweden, which specializes almost exclusively in bearings. In second place is Germany’s Schaeffler, which through its controlling shareholder, the Schaeffler family, owns the tire giant Continental. In third place is NSK. NTN is in fourth place, followed by Japan’s JTEKT in fifth place and the U.S. company Timken in seventh place. Timken sold part of its bearing business to JTEKT in 2009. 6th place goes to the Chinese company C&U.
The market size of the bearing industry in 2020 is estimated to be $118.7 billion. The data used for reference is as follows. According to the research firm Grand View Research, the market size of this industry in 2020 is $118.7 billion, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% from 2021 to 2028. According to research firm Allied Market Research, the market will be worth $107.4 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a rate of 6.1% over 2027.
Major players in the industry continue to acquire other companies in the same industry in order to acquire customers and technologies. The acquisition multiples (sales multiples) are diversified, ranging from less than 1x to 7x.
2006 NTN’s acquisition of SNR Rolements from Renault
2008 SKF’s acquisition of PEER Bearing
2009 JTEKT’s acquisition of Timken’s needle roller bearing business
2010 SKF’s acquisition of Sweden’s Liocoln Industrial Corporation
2011 Schaeffler acquires Continental of Germany
2012 SKF’s acquisition of General Bearing Corporation
2012 NSK’s investment in Gongzhouling Bearing
2013 NSK’s investment in China Mashi Group
2013 SKF’s acquisition of Kaydon, a U.S. bearing company
2018 Timken acquires Rollon, an Italian linear bearing company
Bearings function to reduce frictional resistance between mechanical parts, and are also consumables. It is no exaggeration to say that bearings are used in almost all machinery, and they are widely used in automobiles, aircraft, home appliances, and industrial equipment. Performance requirements such as lubrication, serviceability, and wear resistance keep European, American, and Japanese manufacturers competitive in terms of product quality.
There are various types of bearings, such as ball bearings (new groove, angular contact), roller bearings (cylindrical roller bearings, tapered roller bearings, needle roller bearings), needle bearings, and thrust ball bearings, depending on the application, and they are used in a wide range of fields, including automotive transmissions, wheels, machine tools, construction equipment, pumps, engines, rolling stock, and agricultural machinery. They are used in a wide range of fields, including automotive transmissions, wheels, machine tools, construction equipment, pumps, engines, railway vehicles, and agricultural machinery.
Overview of Major Bearing Companies
SKF, founded in 1907, is Sweden’s leading manufacturer of bearings, with SKF standing for Svenska Kullagerfabriken. SKF is the world’s largest company in the bearing field. Volvo, a major commercial vehicle and automobile manufacturer, was founded by SKF management.
Schaeffler is a major bearing manufacturer based in Germany. The company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Schaeffler family as a major shareholder. The company operates globally under three brands: INA (needle roller bearings), FAG (precision bearings), and Luk (clutches and transmissions). The company’s bearings are famously used in the London Eye. Through the Schaeffler family, the company is also the largest shareholder of Continental, a major tire manufacturer.
Wafangdian Bearing Group Corporation
Wafangdian Bearing Group Corporation is a major bearing company based in Dalian, China. It has established joint ventures with THK and JTEKT of Japan.
JTEKT is a leading manufacturer of industrial equipment and machine tools for the automotive industry, formed through the merger of Koyo Seiko and Toyoda Machine Works in 2006. In 2009, JTEKT acquired the bearing business of Timken Corporation of the U.S., which had the fifth largest market share at the time, and has been strengthening this business.
NSK, NTN, MinebeaMitsumi, Fujikoshi, and Nippon Thomson are the major bearing companies in Japan. NSK has a leading share of the global market for ball screws, linear guides and electric power steering systems, while NTN is strong in constant velocity joints and axle units for automobiles. MinebeaMitsumi is strong in miniature and small-sized ball bearings and roller bearings for aircraft. NACHI-FUJIKOSHI has strength in radial ball bearings for automobiles and industrial equipment.
Timken is a major bearing manufacturer based in the United States. In addition to bearings, Timken is also involved in other products such as war transmissions and chains.
C&U is a Chinese bearing manufacturer established in 1991, which also operates in Japan as C&U Seiko.
Rothe Erde is a ThyssenKrupp Group company that develops and manufactures bearings for industrial equipment.
ThyssenKrupp is one of Germany’s largest heavy industry manufacturers, formed in 1999 through the merger of Krupp, founded in 1811, and Thyssen, founded in 1867. The company’s main businesses are steel, elevators, auto parts, and shipbuilding (for the military). after structural reforms since the 2010s and the failure of its European steel business integration with Tata Steel, ThyssenKrupp will merge in 2019 with tkIndustries, which mainly provides auto parts, elevators, and plant services. In 2019, ThyssenKrupp announced that it would spin off its business into tk Industries, which mainly provides auto parts, elevators, and plant services, and tk Materials, which sells steel, crankshafts and other industrial materials, submarines, and steel, but this did not happen, and in 2019 it sold its lucrative elevator business to Advent International.