KONSTANZ, Germany – Worldwide demand for plasticizers is projected to grow to more than 7.6 million metric tons per year until 2018, according to a new study by market research firm Ceresana.

Plastics, paints and varnishes, rubber, and adhesives are often mixed with colorless liquids to make them soft, flexible and usable. “Plasticizers are among the bestselling chemicals,” said Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana Research. “Worldwide demand for plasticizers will jump to more than 7.6 million tonnes per year until 2018.” The market research institute is currently publishing a new market study on these indispensable additives.

While Ceresana expects that demand for plasticizers in North America and Western Europe will only see below-average growth in the future, demand in countries such as India, Russia and Brazil will increase by more than four percent per year. The Asia-Pacific region is already the largest market for plasticizers, with China holding the top position with a share of about two thirds.

The most important application areas of plasticizers include floorings, profiles, cables and films made of plastics. They account for more than half of all demand, because some PVC grades contain up to 40 percent of plasticizers. However, demand in the adhesive, paint and rubber industries is increasing even faster than in the plastics sector.

In 2010, the market was still dominated by phthalate plasticizers. With a roughly 54 percent share, di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) was the most important plasticizer. However, DEHP will be increasingly replaced by other plasticizers over the coming years. Due to legal provisions and growing environmental awareness, producers are increasingly forced to use non-phthalate plasticizers, e.g. based on vegetable oils. In North America, for example, alternative plasticizers had a 30 percent share as of 2010.

The practice-oriented study of Ceresana Research gives a concise overview of the different types of plasticizers, and the market is analyzed in detail. This study focuses on the 18 countries with the largest demand and forecasts market opportunities and risks up to 2018. For additional information, visithttp://www.ceresana.com/en/market-studies/additives/plasticizers-new/.