Epoxy Curing Agent Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)
The market for epoxy curing agents is expected to reach USD 4,994.14 million, registering a CAGR of about 4.93%, globally, during the forecast period (2021-2026). The increasing demand from the building and construction industry and new developments in light weight composite materials are the major factors driving the demand for market studied. However, environmental regulations on amine-based curing agents and impact of COVID-19 outbreak are expected to hinder the growth of the market
Increasing Demand from the Construction Industry
Epoxy resin systems consist of two parts, an "A" and a "B" side. The B side, also known as the "hardener", is the epoxy curing agent, and the curing agent is accountable for reacting with the epoxy groups confined in the epoxy resin A side. The reaction of curing agents with epoxy resins outcomes in hard, thermoset materials. These thermoset materials are often used as composites. Composites have been found to be the most promising and discerning material available in this century. Presently, composites reinforced with fibers of synthetic or natural materials are gaining more importance as demands for lightweight materials with high strength for specific applications are growing in the market. Fiber-reinforced polymer composite offers not only high strength to weight ratio, but also reveals exceptional properties, such as high durability, stiffness, damping property, flexural strength, and resistance to corrosion, wear, impact, and fire. These wide ranges of diverse features have led composite materials to find applications in mechanical, construction, aerospace, automobile, biomedical, marine, and many other manufacturing industries.
The aerospace and defense industry is the largest consumer of composites globally. The main objectives in the aerospace industry are to bring down the cost and lower carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption. The application of composites in the aircraft industry is increasing because of their contribution to reducing cost, weight, and vibrations. Aircraft OEMs are working toward products that are more fuel-efficient with the increase in the usage of fiber-reinforced composites materials, including interiors. Owing to their high strength to weight ratio, composites have had a long role in cabin finishes, and thus, contributing to high aircraft fuel efficiency.
The automotive is also one of the major end-user industries for composites. However, the global decline in automotive production is acting as a hindrance to the market studied. On the bright side, the environmental regulations on the increasing carbon emission are constraining the automotive industries to increase the production of electric vehicles, which also focuses on reducing the overall weight of the vehicle. Thus, the demand for composites is expected to increase during the forthcoming years in the electric vehicles sector, which is expected to increase the demand for the market studied in the upcoming years. The wind rotor blades and other structural components are made from composites produced from epoxy resins. Manufacturers prefer these resins as they are lightweight, resistant to fatigue, have good adhesion, and lack shrinkage after cooling. The rotor blades constitute about 2/3rd of all epoxy resins consumed in wind turbines. Over the past 20-year, epoxy resins have made it possible to steadily increase the diameter of wind blades, in turn, making them more efficient.
However, overall, production activities have declined in 2020 owing to COVID-19, which has impacted the market through 2020 and is even expected to have a significant impact through 2021 too.
China to Dominate the Asia-Pacific Market
In the Asia-Pacific region, China is the largest economy in terms of GDP. The country witnessed about 6.1% growth in its GDP during 2019, despite the trade disturbances caused due to its trade war with the United States. Although China was the first country affected by COVID-19 and its related lockdown, it was the first country to come out of the lockdown. However, the country has been witnessing recurring cases of COVID-19, leading to brief lockdowns occasionally. The manufacturing sector in the country has taken a major hit in Q1 2020, subsequently leading to a 6.8% drop in GDP, the lowest ever witnessed in years. However, the country has been focusing on several measures such as tax breaks and other incentives to enhance its economic recovery. Overall, in 2020, China's GDP has recorded a growth rate of 1.9%, indicating signs of a V-shaped recovery. According to the IMF forecast, the country is expected to reach a GDP growth of 8.2% in 2021.
China continues to dominate, in terms of demand in the market studied, powered by its huge production base for paints and coatings. The country has more than 1/3rd of the global production share. The annual paint production in the country rocketed from 17.6 million metric tons in 2018 to nearly 18.6 million metric tons in 2019. According to European Coatings, there are nearly 10,000 coatings manufacturers located in China. The Chinese paints and coatings production has been showing steady growth over the recent years. Although China is home to a huge number of companies producing paints and coatings, foreign companies and joint ventures also hold a fair share of the market. In addition, many international players are looking to further strengthen their positions through new acquisitions.
The construction industry grew at a strong pace in 2019, even though the growth slowed down during the year compared to 2018. The construction sector had supported the economic growth in the country whenever a major slowdown occurred. Demographics in the country are expected to continue to spur the growth in residential construction. Rising household income levels combined with population migrating from rural to urban areas are expected to continue to drive the demand for the residential construction sector in the country. Increased focus on affordable housing by both the public and private sectors will drive growth in the residential construction sector. China is the world's largest automotive producer. However, since 2018, the country has been witnessing a decline in automotive production. In 2018, the country recorded a decline of 4.16% in vehicle production, followed by 7.5% in 2019. The automotive industry's performance was affected by the economic shifts and China's trade war with the United States. In 2019, the country also recorded a decline of 8.2% in domestic automotive sales.
China has the world's largest electronics production base, and it offers tough competition to the existing upstream producers, such as South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. With the increase in the middle-class population's disposable incomes, the demand for electronic products is projected to increase steadily in the future, thereby driving the market studied. The electronics manufacturing industry is constantly expanding in China as a result of low cost and increasing demand for electronics products. With the increase in the disposable income of the middle-class population, the demand for electronic products is projected to grow in the near future. COVID-19 presented a problematic situation for the epoxy curing agents market in the country. However, currently, the conditions are better, which has concreted the probability of market recovery over the forecast period.
The global epoxy curing agents market is partially consolidated, with the presence of majorly multi-national players. The top ten players account for about ~50% market share of the global market demand. The market is competitive in nature. some of the key players operating in the market include BASF SE, Hexion, Olin Corporation, Huntsman International LLC, and Evonik Industries AG, among others.