CLEVELAND - Demand in the United States for color pigments, including inorganic, organic and specialty types, is forecast to increase 4.4 percent per year to $3.8 billion in 2011. The increase is driven by a shift toward more expensive high-performance organic pigments and specialty types. Steady increases in large pigment markets such as paint and coatings will support volume growth. Trade continues to have a large impact on the U.S. pigments industry. Imports mostly consist of lower-end pigments while higher-quality products are exported. These and other trends are presented in Pigments: Inorganic, Organic & Specialty, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Specialty pigments, such as metallic and pearlescent types, will provide good opportunities, with demand growing at an annual rate of 5.5 percent. Gains will arise from increased requirements for unique and novel eye-catching optical effects by manufacturers of products such as automotive coatings, printing inks, plastics, cosmetics and toiletries.

Organic pigments will also experience encouraging growth, resulting from trends toward more expensive, high-performance pigments and the continual displacement of heavy metal-based inorganic pigments such as chromate. Organic pigments have a superior environmental profile in comparison to inorganic pigments and provide a wider range of bright colors that are particularly used in printing inks.

Inorganic pigments will be the slowest growing segment through 2011, due to the continued phasing out of heavy metal types and the increased popularity of vivid colors with special effects, which are usually achieved with organic and specialty pigments.

By 2011, demand for organic pigments will surpass that for inorganics, which was the largest segment for the past decade. Nevertheless, favorable opportunities exist for certain types of inorganics, such as complex inorganic pigments, which offer superior lightfastness and chemical resistance.

Opportunities will arise in the paint and coatings and printing inks markets, as manufacturers seek to create new colors and visual effects. Demand for pigments in the plastics industry will be supported by the popularity of colored transparent plastics products. Demand for pigments in the smaller toner market will see the fastest growth, boosted by the rising use of color toner cartridges, especially in commercial applications.

Pigments: Inorganic, Organic & Specialty is available from The Freedonia Group. For further details, e-mail Corinne Gangloff at