The global demand for emulsion polymers was valued at US$31.5 bln in 2014, and is expected to generate revenue of US$43 bln by end of 2020, growing at a CAGR of around 6% between 2015 and 2020, as per Zion Research. In terms of volume, the global emulsion polymers stood at approximately 12 million tons in 2014.
One of the key driving factors for emulsion polymers is increasing awareness regarding volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Due to stringent environmental regulations, applications are more inclined toward using low VOC products. Emulsion polymers contain high volume of water and they are low VOC polymers. Another major driving factor for the global emulsion polymers market is rapidly growing in building & construction and automotive industry. Revival of global economy with rise in residential and commercial construction activity and strong demand for automotive industry is in turn driving demand for paints & coating, adhesives, etc. Paints & coatings and adhesives are key application market for emulsion polymers. Especially, building & construction, electronics and automotive industry is expected to witness robust growth in emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, etc. This in turn expected to fuel growth of emulsion polymers market. However, fluctuations in raw material prices and supply are expected to remain major concern for the manufacturers.
Acrylics was the leading product segment for emulsion polymer, which accounted for over 35% share of the entire market in 2104. Acrylics are the most widely used emulsion polymers in the processing of acrylic emulsion paints and coatings, adhesives, and paper and paperboard. Vinyl acetate emulsion is also expected to witness strong demand from vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymers for adhesives and coatings applications. Moreover, in terms of volume, this is one of the fastest growing product segments. Styrene-butadiene latex is another growing segment held the second largest share in the global emulsion polymers market owing to its increasing usage in adhesives, textiles & non-woven and the paper and paperboard coatings industry.
Emulsion polymerization is used to manufacture several commercially important polymers. Many of these polymers are used as solid materials and must be isolated from the aqueous dispersion after polymerization. Emulsion polymerization is a type of radical polymerization that usually starts with an emulsion incorporating water, monomer, and surfactant. Emulsion Polymers (EP) includes different types of waterborne polymers such as acrylic emulsion, vinyl emulsion, SB latex, and others. Better thermal stability, elasticity, and improved adhesion are the important characteristics of emulsion polymers. Monomers (styrene, butyl acrylate, etc.), surfactants, stabilizers (acrylic acid), and initiators are the key raw materials used in the manufacturing of emulsion polymers. On the basis of application, the emulsion polymer market has been classified into paints & coatings, paper & paperboard, adhesives, textiles & non-woven, others (leather, etc.). Paints and coatings was the largest application market for Emulsion polymer in 2014. Paints & Coatings followed by adhesives and paper & paperboard coatings. Adhesive is the second-largest application of emulsion polymer and it is expected to boost the demand for emulsion polymers during the forecast period. Paperboard coatings also accounted for significant share of the global emulsion polymers market in 2014. Other applications (such as leather industry) are also expected to witness fast growth during the forecast period. Asia Pacific dominated the emulsion polymer market and accounted for the largest share of the global market in 2014. Asia Pacific is followed by Europe and North America. Asia Pacific region will continue to see above average growth in demand throughout forecast period driven by strong growth in China and India. In terms of volume, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific are expected to witness robust growth during the forecast period. Availability of cheap labor, favorable weather conditions, and governmental support are some of the factors driving the emulsion polymers market in these regions. The Latin America Europe and North America are also expected to experience significant growth of emulsion polymer market in the years to come.