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Published: September 2012
Eight functional classes of specialty plastics additives are described in this report (plasticizers are commodity chemicals and therefore not covered in this report):
- antistatic agents
- chemical blowing agents
- flame retardants
- heat stabilizers
- impact modifiers
- light stabilizers
- lubricants and slip additives
The following pie chart shows world consumption of plastics additives on a value basis:
Globally, flame retardants constitute the largest plastics additive market by far (volume basis), followed by heat stabilizers and impact modifiers.
In North America and Western Europe, plastics additives sales volumes and revenues slumped during the economic downturn of 2008–2009, but began to recover in late 2009 as the global economy improved. However, European market recovery has slowed as a result of the European debt crisis.
As in North America and Western Europe, Japanese plastics additives consumption declined significantly as a result of the economic crisis, and made a partial recovery in 2010. However, Japan's March 11, 2011 earthquake and the yen's sharp appreciation greatly impeded Japan's recovery from the 2008–2009 downturn. As newly advanced-economic-development countries, China and India have achieved high growth rates during the past decade, responding to growing demand for plastics (including high-performance and eco-friendly) from the automobile, electronics, office machinery, construction and toy industries in these regions. Many end-user manufacturing plants from Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan have also been relocated to China and India. Thus, the plastics industries in China and India have been one of the fastest-growing sectors over the last ten years. In response to rapidly expanding plastics demand, demand for all types of plastics additives has increased at a high rate. The Chinese and Indian plastics additives markets are predicted to continue to grow strongly at an average annual rate of 5–7% over the next five years.
Many key issues affect the plastics additives market, such as increases in feedstock prices; changes in environmental, safety, and health regulations; increasing global competitiveness; and the growing importance of China and other developing countries such as India. Since plastics additives growth is driven primarily by increases in the use of plastics, China and other developing countries have become the most important markets strategically. Thus, major plastics additives manufacturers such as BASF, Akzo Nobel, Chemtura, Albemarle and ADEKA have been expanding their presence and strengthening their activities in the Asian market, especially in China, by establishing joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries. However, over the next five years, market competition will intensify among foreign as well as domestic manufacturers in China and other developing countries. Thus, plastics additives manufacturers will face an increasingly difficult business environment. Alliances, mergers and acquisitions among plastics additives manufacturers are expected over the next five years.
Global consumption of plastics additives is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.5–3.5% during 2011–2016. Asian additive markets will continue to be the largest (48% on a volume basis), and the Chinese market will continue to be the world's largest, accounting for 30% (on a volume basis), of the world plastics additives market in 2016.