KONSTANZ, Germany - Experts from Ceresana Research forecast the global solvents market to earn revenues of about $33 billion in 2019. Dynamic economic development in emerging countries like China, India, Brazil and Russia will continue to boost the demand for solvents. The market research institute expects worldwide solvent consumption to increase at an average annual rate of 2.5 percent over the next years. Accordingly, the growth rate seen during the past eight years will be surpassed. 

The most frequently used solvents are alcohols, such as ethanol, n-butanol, isopropanol and methanol. About 6.4 million metric tons of alcohol-based solvents were utilized worldwide in 2011. Demand for ethanol and ethers is projected to rise at an above-average growth rate of more than 3 percent per year between 2011 and 2019. Demand for halogenated solvents is declining in Western Europe and North America. Also, aromatics and pure hydrocarbons will continue their downward trend. 

The report analyzes how the use of solvents will develop in individual markets. The most important buyers are producers of coatings. Producers of printing inks, which accounted for somewhat more than 8 percent of global solvent demand in 2011, follow coatings producers. The pharmaceutical industry came in third place, followed by cosmetics and adhesives. Furthermore, solvents are used in a broad variety of other industrial applications, for example in chemical manufacturing processes, cooling circuits, chemical dry-cleaning and as de-icing agents. 

The adhesives industry is expected to record the strongest growth in solvent use. Besides private consumption, adhesives are increasingly used in industrial applications. They allow for easy, safe and flexible connections, which are usually inexpensive and lightweight. 

With a roughly 39 percent share of global consumption, Asia-Pacific is the largest solvents outlet, followed by North America and Western Europe. Asian countries will further increase their shares in the global solvents market – mainly at the expense of saturated industrial countries. Many emerging and developing countries benefit from an increasing demand for solvents – above all in the coatings and adhesives industries. 

For example, solvent demand in the coatings industry is predicted to increase by 2.9 percent per year until 2019. Emerging and developing countries will boost this trend, as rising prosperity in these countries will result in an increasing per-capita consumption of paint. 

The market for solvents is significantly influenced by legal regulations and the growing environmental awareness of end consumers. Changes targeted at reducing the environmental impact of solvents will focus on both production methods and further substitutions of specific solvent types. The manufacture of solvents from renewable resources reduces the dependence on petroleum and improves the CO2 balance. 

Western Europe and North America will continue to pursue their goal of reducing emissions of VOCs. The shifting from solvent-based paints to water-based or other solvent-free paints is negatively impacting demand for solvents in these regions. In the other regions, environmental protection is far less important; however, this is going to change in the long term. 

For additional information about the report, visit www.ceresana.com/en/market-studies/chemicals/solvents.