Aerosols are used in a wide range of applications such as dispersal of pesticides, household sprays, medical treatment and combustion technology. On the other hand, a propellant is a chemical which is used in the production of pressurized gas and energy to create the movement of a fluid in an object. There are two main types of propellants which include compressed gas propellants (nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide) and the liquefied gas propellants (fluorocarbons, hydrocarbons, and ethers). Stringent environmental regulations for limiting the use of CFCs have fueled the demand for aerosol propellants. The global market for aerosol is expected to reach more than USD 65 billion by the end of 2018, growing at a CAGR of 4.0% from 2013 to 2019.
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The basic raw materials used in the production of propellants include coal, natural gas, methanol, and feedstock. There is a significant threat of forward integration from raw material suppliers entering the manufacturing space. Propellants either reach the aerosol producers directly through the industry participants by distribution of their own brands, or through integrated producers.
Increasing consumer awareness towards personal health and hygiene and the growth of the global aerosol market ensures continuous growth of the global propellants market. The steady growth in the aerosol industry supported by frequent new product launches has remained the major driving factor for this market. The hazards associated with aerosol propellants and flammable and explosive properties of aerosol propellants such as propane or butane are the various factors challenging the growth of propellants market. Development and launch of eco-friendly products can enable manufacturers to capitalize on the growing demand for greener aerosol propellants. Moreover, the phase-out of CFCs and HCFCs and limited availability of conventional hydrocarbon propellants is also providing growth opportunity for new and eco friendly propellants in the market.
The global aerosol propellants market was dominated by hydrocarbons including propane, n-butane, and isobutane which accounted for more than 80% of the total market volume in 2012. Butane and propane are most widely used as aerosol propellants. Dimethyl ether (DME) and methyl ethyl ether are other important propellants used in the aerosol industry. DME and methyl ethyl ether are growing in popularity among aerosol manufacturers as they are eco-friendly and offer potential replacement value for conventional hydrocarbon propellants. In addition, a small volume of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide is also being used as aerosol propellants.
In 2012, household aerosol products accounted for more than 50% of the market share and are expected to maintain dominance in the future as well. This is driven by new product launches in this segment which provide efficiency and convenience to consumers. Medical and paints and coatings are highly attractive markets and expected to grow at a CAGR of over 4% from 2013 to 2019. Other applications which include auto care, industrial sprays, food, veterinary, etc. are expected to see a reduced market share due to increasing stringent regulations on the propellants used in aerosol products.
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Europe is expected to remain the leading market for aerosol propellants in terms of demand and is expected to command 35.7% of total volume consumption in 2019. North America was the second largest market for aerosol propellants with 30.7% share in total volume consumption in 2012. The Chinese market is the most attractive market for aerosol products with high growth potential in Asia Pacific. Although Europe and North America are leading the global market, for aerosol, the future growth, however, is expected to come from the Asia Pacific market. Currently the aerosol market in Asia Pacific is growing at a sluggish rate but is expected to show promising growth trends in the near future.