Chemical Top–Trends 2014 Three Top–Trends that will Shape the Chemical Industry in 2014

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Building materials, construction chemicals and flexible packaging: Energy efficiency and functional materials could become the major growth–driver for the international chemical industry during 2014. In the long run, nevertheless, trends like bio-based chemicals, gas processing auxiliaries or agrochemicals are expected to become the key growth drivers...

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Functional materials and energy efficient construction chemicals are among the top growth drivers of the chemical industry.
Functional materials and energy efficient construction chemicals are among the top growth drivers of the chemical industry.
(Picture: PROCESS)

With ever increasing energy prices and a growing urban population, new materials for construction and insulation are in high demand: Market experts Frost & Sullivan believe that materials and chemicals that support and promote clean and sustainable technologies and energy efficiency are on the top of the agenda of stakeholders across the value chain. As buildings are among the biggest energy consumers, governments around the world have started focusing more on energy efficient buildings in order to reduce their respective carbon emissions and achieve energy efficiency goals.

This growth of “green” and “net-zero energy” buildings will drive the need for sustainable insulation systems and materials: The massive growth in emerging markets, building renovations in Europe and the evolving standards in the US will be amongst the major driving forces behind the growth of materials for energy efficient buildings, analysts predict.

Cost and Energy Efficiency Drive the Chemicals Market

The new data, based on Frost & Sullivan's 2013 ‘2013 Search for Growth, involved responses and input from 1835 executives in more than 40 countries globally. The survey data and discussion showed that materials market for energy-efficient buildings, construction chemicals and flexible packaging will be the key growth areas in 2014 and beyond.

"Frost & Sullivan gathered information from the leading industry players in the chemical, materials and food industry. Using comprehensive analysis, our research team identified key trends, opportunities and challenges for the upcoming year,” explains Frost & Sullivan Research Director Chemicals, Materials & Food Dr Leonidas Dokos.

Construction Chemicals Remain on Top–Agenda

Urbanisation, coupled with the growing middle class, the increasing number of smart cities enabling efficiency solutions, and smart buildings will drive the construction chemicals market. Even amidst the current mixed global economic landscape, construction chemicals remain at the top of the agenda for emerging as well as developed markets - but also functional materials and smart packaging solutions are in high demand... more on page 2!

Although differentiation is a difficult task for the construction chemicals sector, as the products are mostly commodities and the construction sector traditionally has been quite conservative, key producers are trying to reach a higher level of differentiation by closely working with customers in order to understand needs and develop customer-focused solutions for specific applications.

Urbanisation and Consumer Lifestyle Fuels Demand for Packaging

Another factor which accompanies the urbanisation Mega Trend is changing in the consumer lifestyle. This will attract more interest towards new packaging technologies and products such as flexible packaging especially in food and beverage applications, which is the largest end segment application. The increased focus on sustainability will continue to be a major trend in the packaging industry, which supports the adoption of materials from renewable sources.

BRIC States Continue to Lead the Growth Markets Despite Unrests

Based on the same survey, Frost & Sullivan has identified emerging markets for the chemicals, materials and food industry in 2013. BRIC was leading the developments even with the slow down observed in China and India and the political and social unrests in Brazil and Russia. Also Turkey and Southeast Asia countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia are strengthening their global position as production and consumption hot spots. The leading industries identified in 2013 were: construction and utilities, transportation, foods and beverage, personal protective equipment, and food, drug, and cosmetics.

Trends in 2020: Gas, Agrochemical, Bio–Materials and Water

Frost & Sullivan has also identified the top Technologies and Markets to Watch in 2020. These are: lightweight materials including composites and plastics, bio-based chemicals and materials, shale gas chemicals and infrastructure, advanced coatings, water and waste water treatment chemicals and solutions, nutritional and functional food ingredients, hybrid personal care markets, agrochemicals and crop protection chemicals.