Environmental issues continue to be a hot button issue for pigment suppliers


The value of the high-performance pigments (HPP) market is estimated as US$4.75 billion in 2016, rising to US$5.49 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 2.9%, according to the latest market research from Smithers Rapra.

The report titled Future of High-Performance Pigments to 2021 analyses the principal market sectors for high-performance pigments (HPPs) and speciality pigments (SPs). These include:

  • Coatings – architectural, automotive and legislative pressures industrial;
  • Plastics;
  • Inks – especially for packaging;
  • Cosmetics;
  • Textiles;
  • Electronics

Despite the strong move of pigment production to Asia, especially India and China, HPP production is still largely in the control of European, US and Japanese companies.

Several technical advances in the end-user markets will spur the demand for new and improved types of HPP across the next five years. There is an increase in demand for more specialised and unique end-use pigments. Small and niche players are also focusing on increased usage of specialised pigments, such as thermochromic pigments and daylight fluorescent pigments. Current and future developments in nano-pigment technology, currently feeding the high end of the market (special effect pigments) can be expected to have an impact on uses of high-performance pigments.

Report author Trevor Sayer says: “Environmental issues will continue to be a hot-button issue for pigment suppliers. Without question the biggest challenge to the global pigment market will be stricter environmental regulation, especially related to water and industrial waste treatment.

“Company consolidation is another major trend. It is being driven by tighter regulatory and customer requirements, coupled with the highly competitive nature of the global pigment market.”

The global consumption of HPPs and SPs is estimated at 178,844 tonnes for 2016, a figure expected to climb to 206,921 tonnes by the end of 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3%. The largest end-use sector is coatings. This will account for 111,584 tonnes by 2021 – 54% of the total market by volume – and have a global value of just under us$3 billion.

An area of growing interest in the coatings field is in heat control coatings using near-infrared (NIR)-reflecting pigments. These are an emerging class of HPPs that have dual functionality – in this case imparting colour, as well as IR-reflective properties. Use of these pigments allows the production of heat reflecting coatings with a variety of colours.

Although the market for HPPs and SPs is forecast to grow at a steady rate through to 2021, suppliers are more cautious about adding manufacturing capacity due to the uncertainty and instability the financial crisis caused as they continue to closely manage their inventory. This leaves customers vulnerable to potential stock outs in the event of supply problems or a spike in demand. This is a trend that will continue.

In addition to forecasts for sales growth by volume and value in the global market up to 2021, the new Smithers Rapra research analyses the top six drivers and trends in this industry, and discusses in detail the cutting- edge technology developments pushing HPP evolution.


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