There are also metal flake/coated pads that last a lot longer. Natural hide is still the most ideal for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons being that many of the synthetic or manufactured pads require very precise fitting and very even toneholes. When they work they are superb. When they dont they require a lot of skill and effort to return to ideal playing conditions.
Leather type materials are more forgiving. Also, there is tradition. It takes a lot to pull most musicians away from tradition to buy into a new fangled item. Lastly, there is tone. When you move to harder materials that dont absorb sound the tone of the isntrument changes...like getting noyak resonators. Some love them, some hate them. Its just easier to sell a horn with what is considered "the standard".