Published February 2015
World consumption of hydroquinone grew at an average annual rate of almost 2% from 2010 to 2014. Consumption in Asia grew during 2010–14, while consumption in the rest of the world showed little growth or even declined during the period. Global capacity utilization was down somewhat in 2014 from 2010, as a result of increased capacity in China and the restart of a closed plant in Italy.
The United States, China, Japan, and Western Europe are the major producing regions; in 2014, the United States accounted for 35% of world capacity, followed by China, Japan, and Western Europe. By 2016, China will surpass the United States as the largest producer, assuming the announced Chinese capacity increases are completed on schedule and there are no further capacity expansions in the rest of the world.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of hydroquinone:
Antioxidants, including p-phenylenediamines and substituted hydroquinones, are the largest application for hydroquinone, followed by polymerization inhibitors; these two applications account for 60% of world consumption. Both applications depend on production of several monomers (for plastics) and polymers, such as unsaturated polyester resins. Demand in photographic processing has continued to decline in most regions as the conversion to digital photography continues to expand, albeit at a slowing rate.
As a region, Asia is the largest market for hydroquinone, accounting for more than 48% of world consumption in 2014. During 2014-19, hydroquinone consumption in Asia is forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 3.5–4.5%; higher growth is expected in India and China, while demand in Japan is expected to be essentially flat. World consumption of hydroquinone is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2.5–3.5% during 2014-19, driven largely by demand in Asia.