Volumes of the solvent market stood 18, 300 kilo tons in 2013. They will grow at a CAGR of around 3.2% from 2014 to 2020 (forecast period). Market revenues could surpass USD 32 billion by 2020. This may be attributed to demand for industrial solvents in paints & coatings and pharmaceutical industries. Infrastructural spending in developing regions like Asia Pacific and Latin America is another factor, favoring the market.
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Solvents are of two types – conventional and organic. Conventional solvents include alcohols, glycol ethers, acetate esters, hydrocarbons, chlorinated, and ethers. Organic ones are mainly used in manufacturing, dry cleaning, and traditional applications.
Solvents are infamous for their adverse health and environmental effects. Several precautions are advised for their use. All this inhibits their demand. Additionally, ‘key source material’ costs often fluctuate, restricting market flow. These issues have led to the development of bio-based solvents. Prominent participants in the solvent market collaborate with biotechnology companies for the same.
The market is segmented according to products, applications, and regions. Products consist of esters, alcohols, ketones, hydrocarbons, chlorinated, and others. Others comprise soy oil and glycols. Alcohols, with almost 30% volumes, were the leading segment in 2013. They should grow at the fastest rate (CAGR 3.4%) in the forecast period.
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Hydrocarbons were the second most-consumed product in 2013. They are estimated to fetch about USD 7.9 billion by 2020. Soy oil and glycols should generate more demand over the next six years. Applications encompass pharmaceuticals, paints & coatings, printing inks, cosmetics & adhesives, and others. Others include cleaning agents and deicing.
Paints & coatings dominated the solvent market in 2013. They accounted for over 59% volumes that year. With a CAGR of 3.8%, this segment could grow at the fastest rate from 2014 to 2020. Robust construction industry in India, China, and other emergent economies is its key driver. Market regions are North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and RoW (Rest of the World).
Asia Pacific led the market in 2013. North America and Europe are mature. The global market is moderately fragmented. Its prominent players comprise Shell Chemicals, The Dow Chemical Company, British Petroleum, and ExxonMobil Corporation. They held about 46% shares in 2013. Other well-known vendors include BASF SE, Celanese Corporation, Eastman Chemical Company, and Ashland Inc.
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