Valued at $582.3 billion in 2017, the specialty chemicals market is projected to generate $782.2 billion in 2023, growing at a 5.1% CAGR during the forecast period 2018–2023. The market is registering growth due to the rising demand for specialty chemicals in emerging economies, increasing penetration of end-use industries in the market, and technological advancements. Also known as performance chemicals, specialty chemicals are utilized as ingredients in the manufacturing processes of industrial and consumer goods. These are low volume chemical products that add important value to different products.
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In terms of type, the specialty chemicals market is divided into construction chemicals, surfactants, polymer additives, cleaning chemicals, paper & textile chemicals, lubricant & oilfield chemicals, agrochemicals, specialty coatings, food additives, electronic chemicals, plastic additives, adhesives & sealants, and others. The category of others includes advanced ceramic materials, mining chemicals, water treatment chemicals, and rubber processing chemicals. The market was dominated by the agrochemicals’ division during 2013–2017, holding a share of more than 14.0% in 2017 due to the surging demand for crop protection chemicals and growing requirement for diversified food items.
Among all the regions, namely Middle East and Africa (MEA), Latin America (LATAM), Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and North America, the largest revenue share of the specialty chemicals market was occupied by the APAC region during the historical period. The reason for this was the rising demand for residential, public, and commercial buildings, growing adoption of new chemicals for increasing crop production, and increasing urban population. Attributed to this, the region is further projected to account for the major share of the market during the forecast period.
One of the key driving factors of the specialty chemicals market is the growing penetration of end-use industries. Several industries make use of specialty chemicals, such as construction, food & beverages, electronics, and automotive. In the automotive industry, specialty chemicals are utilized in a variety of applications, including for paint removal and as cleaner for paint booths. The automotive industry is witnessing rapid growth due to the rising requirement for automobiles around the world and increasing middle-class population. This, in turn, is projected to drive the need for specialty chemicals in the automobile industry.
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The development of environment-friendly products is expected to open up wide opportunities for the players operating in the specialty chemicals market. Several green chemicals are being developed around the world in order to reduce the adverse impact of chemicals on the environment and specialty chemicals contribute significantly in the development of these products. Green chemicals, such as 1-heptacosanol, 12-hydroxy stearic acid, 1-arabinose, 2-ethylehexyl acetate, and others, are utilized in different applications, including production of paints with low volatile organic content, fabrics which need less water when they are washed, and powdered shampoo.
A key trend being observed in the specialty chemicals market is the shifting of production base to APAC. Attributed to strong economic growth and market opportunities, the inclination of chemical companies is shifting towards the APAC region. Moreover, several companies are also shifting their manufacturing bases to APAC because of the strict environmental norms in other regions, primarily North America and Europe, expensive labor cost, and decreasing profit margins. This is projected to drive the market during the forecast period.
Hence, the market is witnessing significant growth due to the rising penetration of end-use industries in the market and shifting of production base to the APAC region.