Plasticizers or dispersants are the polymer additives that are meant for altering and enhancing the physical properties of the plasticized material. The major demand for plasticizers is driven by the increasing consumption from flexible polyvinyl chloride industries. According to the magazine article, “Plasticizers – Benefits, Trends, Health, and Environmental Issues”, written by Vera Koester, around 90% of all plasticizers are used in the production of flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They improve the flexibility and durability of the PVC material. There is a burgeoning demand for PVC in various applications such as flooring, wall coverings, electrical wire and cable jacketing, toys, footwear, packaging, vehicle interiors, furnishings, tubing, blood bags, synthetic leather goods, and many more. Therefore, the continuous demand for PVC will elevate the Plasticizers Market due to its immense utilization in PVC manufacturing. Thus, the growth of the plasticizers market can be fathomed by the growing trade in the polyvinyl chloride industry, which is quite discernible in the findings by the International Trade Centre (ITC), according to which the trade value of polymers of vinyl chloride was evaluated at $20.47 million in 2018.
Moreover, plasticizers market is witnessing tangible growth over the past few years due to the material’s applications in the packaging industry. Additionally, there is an augmented demand from the construction industry, where the product is used as an additive for concretes and clay. Furthermore, particularly owing to the boom in automobile production and consumption, the market will further witness a steady growth owing to the products use in tire manufacturing. The plasticizers market attained a market value of $11 billion in 2018 and the demand is anticipated to propel at a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period 2019-2025.
Plasticizers Market: Leading Segments--
Geographically, APAC held a majority share in the plasticizers market both in terms of production and consumption, generating a global demand share of 60% in 2018. This is mainly attributed to the thriving automotive industry that increased the demand for plasticizers in PVC, which is used for producing protective underbody coatings for cars. Plasticized PVC plays a prominent role in enhancing the appearance of cars by reducing wear and tear. The growth of the automotive industry in the APAC region can be perceived from the statistics published by the International Trade Administration (ITA), according to which China, the world’s largest automotive marketplace, produced 28 million units of cars in 2016. The catapulting production of cars will increase the demand for plasticized coatings, which will subsequently drive the APAC plasticizers market. Additionally, the flourishing food and beverage industry in the developing countries such as India, China, and Japan is projected to boost the plasticizers market, wherein the plasticizers are used to produce plastic food packaging films. Moreover, the high growth of end-use industries including consumer goods, chemicals, and medical devices will substantially drive the regional market.
The Plastic Industry and the Prospects for Plasticizers Market--
On the basis of application, plastic is considered as the key application segment that is dominating the plasticizers market. Plasticizers are added to plastics to improve its properties such as flexibility, diffusivity, softness, heat resistance, stability, workability, toughness, and volatility. Rapid growth in demand for plastic from various industries such as food and beverage, packaging, automotive, furniture, aerospace, construction, chemical, electronics, and consumer goods, is proliferating the demand for plasticizers. The growing trade in the plastic industry can be easily fathomed from the findings by the International Trade Centre (ITC), according to which the worldwide trade value of plastics and articles thereof was evaluated at $661 million in 2018. Thus, the key applications segment is anticipated to drive the demand for plasticizers market and expected to propel at a CAGR of 4.5% through to 2025.
Phthalates: A Boon for Plasticizers Market--
Based on type, the market is categorized into phthalates, trimellitates, terephthalates, epoxides, sebacates, dibenzoates, adipates, gluterates, phthalate esters, azelates, and others. Among these, phthalates are the majorly consumed type owing to their properties, such as high durability, stability, and enhanced performance. The availability of phthalate plasticizers at cheap rates and expanded usage in various industries are the major reasons for the high growth of phthalates in the market.
Plasticizers Market Growth Drivers and Disruptive Trends
· Emergence of Bio-based Plasticizers:
Bio-based plasticizers are biodegradable compounds used as an alternative to petroleum-based plasticizers. These are environment-friendly additives as they are produced from renewable-based resources such as vegetable oils which include palm, soybean, and castor oil. The increasing awareness regarding biodegradable products and rising health concerns by the customers in an order to ensure the sustainability of the environment is fuelling the demand for bio-based plasticizers. this trend is disrupting the growth of plasticizers market.
· Upheaving Demand for Plasticizers from Construction Industry:
Booming construction industry around the world is upheaving the demand for plasticizers market. Cement and concrete are the most prominent building materials used in construction. There is an increasing adoption of plasticizers to improve the properties of building materials. Plasticizers are added to cement and concrete mixtures to improve workability. Thus increasing growth of the plasticizers market can be apprehended by the continuously growing trade in the cement industry, which is quite discernible in the findings by the International Trade Centre (ITC), according to which the trade value of cement, concrete or artificial stone, was evaluated at $8.95 million in 2018.
· Globally Flourishing Plastic Food Packaging Industry:
The emerging food industry owing to the increasing global population is fuelling the demand for packaged food, thereby catapulting the usage of PVC polymer for food packaging and rising the application of plasticizers. The food packaging industry is significantly contributing to the substantial growth of the plastic packaging industry across the world. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), the worldwide trade value of plastic packaging of goods, was evaluated at $56 million in 2018, with an annual growth of 10% during 2017-2018. Thus the increasing demand for packaging products is fuelling the growth of plasticizers market.
Plasticizers Market Companies
Some of the key players operating in the plasticizers market include UPC Technology Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Aekyung Petrochemical Co., Ltd, BASF SE, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, Dow Chemicals, Arkema, Eastman Chemicals, Clariant International, and Adeka. These companies are continuously trying to leverage the demand for plasticizers market by manufacturing and supplying maximum amount of product. Major players are constantly involved in research and development activities to produce cost effective products, focusing on strategic expansions, meaningful acquisitions, mergers, profitable partnerships, agreements, and joint ventures, and new product launches, to enhance their foothold in the market.
Recently, US bio-based chemicals specialist Myriant Corp., has signed a three-way joint development agreement with Taiwan's UPC Technology Corp., and Sojitz Corp., of Japan to promote plasticizers based on bio-succinic acid. UPC, a world’s largest producer of plasticizers and other specialty chemicals, will utilize Myriant's bio-succinic acid in the manufacture of bio-based, phthalate-free plasticizers. These type of strategies are followed by the players to meet the global demand for plasticizers.
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