Masterbatches are raw materials used as colorants for plastics which find applications in almost all areas of plastic processing as a standard method of adding colorant to bulk and uncolored resin. Steady economic growth, rapid pace of industrialization, increasing production of plastic products and components, packaging products and continuous penetration of masterbatch vis-a-vis competing coloring methods remain key driving forces in the market. Product innovation and differentiation is among the key strategies adopted by masterbatch manufacturers to gain a competitive edge in the market. Key innovations which have benefited the market over the past few years include anti-shrinkage masterbatch, flame-retardant masterbatches for PP pipes and PC sheets, anti-fog masterbatches for food packaging, anti-microbial and odor managing masterbatches and masterbatches for biopolymer and biodegradable resins. The focus is also on developing eco-friendly products that reduce drain of natural resources and minimize need for landfills.
TechSci Research forecasts the global masterbatch market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% during 2014-19 with increasing use of plastic in flexible packaging, building and construction and automotive industries. Masterbatches find widespread use in various industries such as packaging, building and construction, automotive, appliances and consumer goods. Growth in masterbatch market is directly related to the amount of polymer consumption in a region. Masterbatches are classified into four categories- black, white, color and additive, depending on the color or certain functional properties they impart to the base polymer. Among different masterbatch types, color masterbatches occupied the highest revenue share in 2013. Color masterbatches are used in the production of plastics for automotive, appliances, food and beverage and pharmaceutical packaging. Black masterbatches are majorly used in building and construction, automotive and consumer appliance industries. Emergence of large-scale infrastructural projects in the Middle East and growth in Asia-Pacific construction industry are expected to emerge as major demand drivers for black masterbatches over the next five years. Additives is the fastest growing segment of masterbatches due to growing preference for customized plastic products in packaging, automotive, appliance, textile, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods industries. Fast emerging economies such as China and India as well as the Middle East and South America are expected to be the major drivers for the global masterbatch market during the forecast period. The report also points out that A. Schulman, Ampacet and Clariant are the largest global masterbatch players. Market dynamics in developed regions such as Western Europe and North America are significantly different from developing regions like Asia-Pacific and Africa. The developed regions are dominated by select global players such as A. Schulman, Ampacet, Clariant and PolyOne. These regions are also characterized by significant technology advancements and relatively low growth rate of end-user segments. On the contrary, developing markets are characterized by several small-scale domestic players offering low-cost masterbatches and high end-user industry demand. China alone has more than 500 masterbatch manufacturers. However, during the last decade, global masterbatch leaders have increased their focus on mergers and acquisitions in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South America. At the same time, few companies are streamlining their masterbatch business by downsizing or reducing operations in Europe or America, and increasing their presence in Asia-Pacific.
Global market for masterbatches is projected to reach US$10.5 bln by 2018, driven by steady rise in demand for plastics from major manufacturing industries such as automotive, construction, packaging and consumer goods, among others, as per Global Industry Analysts Inc. Europe represents the largest market worldwide. Though growth has been adversely affected by the volatile economic environment in Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia continue to witness strong demand for masterbatches. While USA and Europe still account for a major share of demand, Asia-Pacific and Latin America are spearheading global growth. Growth in Asia-Pacific is led by rising demand for sophisticated raw materials and products among the region’s plastic processors. Lured by the region’s favorable prospects, several producers are expanding their presence in Asian countries to benefit from low-cost structures and growing local demand for plastics and packaging. Packaging represents the largest end-use market for masterbatch. Manufacturers of consumer products are increasingly seeking packaging materials that facilitate low cost production, and ensure effective storage, transportation. Demand is therefore expected to grow for advanced masterbatches that offer both functional performance and aesthetic appeal. The automotive industry represents one of the fastest growing end-use markets for masterbatch with a projected CAGR of 4.9% over the analysis period. White Masterbatch represents the largest product market as measured in terms of volume sales, while Additive Masterbatch is expected to post the fastest growth over the analysis period. Major players covered in the report include A. Schulman Inc., Americhem Inc., Ampacet Corporation, BASF, Cabot Corporation, Clariant International Ltd., Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals Mfg. Co. Ltd., DIC Corporation, Dow Corning Corporation, Ferro Corporation and PolyOne Corporation, among others.