A retroreflector is a material used to reflect back light beam toward its source with minimum or no scattering. Retroreflectors are naturally present in eyes of some animals. It is known as eyeshine. Retroreflectors are primarily used to increase visibility during night.
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The retroreflective materials market can be segmented based on material, type, application, and region. In terms of material, the market can be divided into glass, plastic, and others. The others segment includes silica. Based on type, the market can be bifurcated into beads and prisms. Beads are easy to manufacture and are employed in retroreflective textiles. The beads segment can be further divided into exposed beads and encapsulated beads.
Encapsulated beads offer higher efficiency than exposed beads. Prisms are brighter then beads. Based on application, the market can be split into automotive and traffic navigation, personal protective equipment, construction & manufacturing industry, mining, firefighting industry, consumer products, and others. The automotive and traffic navigation segment can be sub-segmented into taillights of vehicles, road signs, vehicle safety, and pavement markings. The personal protective equipment segment can be sub-divided into protective clothing, gloves, head protection, and others. The consumer products segment can be further split into barcodes, digital cameras, and others. The others segment can be sub-divided into satellites, 3D displays, motion pictures, and others. Based on region, the retroreflective materials market can be segregated into Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa, North America, and Latin America.
Rise in traffic during the night time is the major factor driving the global market for retroreflective materials. Enhancement in road safety navigations and improvement in retroreflective materials technologies are anticipated to propel the retroreflective materials market in the near future. Increase in regulations for employee safety is expected to boost the retroreflective materials market. However, short life of products and availability of substitutes are projected to restrain the retroreflective materials market in the near future.
The glass segment is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period. Demand for glass spheres or beads is estimated to increase in the next few years. The personal protective equipment (PPE) segment is estimated to hold significant share of the retroreflective materials market during the forecast period owing to the increase in communicable diseases. Demand for retroreflective materials is likely to rise in the automotive and traffic navigation application segment across the globe. In traffic navigation, retroreflectors are primarily used on highways, and for road safety markings where night-time traffic is considerable.
Demand for retroreflectors is expected to rise in mining and firefighting industries for labor safety. Asia Pacific is anticipated to dominate the retroreflective materials market in the next few years owing to the increase in road accidents and rise in consumption of personal protective equipment. Europe is estimated to hold prominent share of the market during the forecast period. Demand for glass beads is estimated to rise in personal protective equipment in the region. North America is projected to offer lucrative opportunities to the retroreflective materials market in the next few years. The retroreflective materials market is likely to expand at a rapid pace in Latin America, followed by that in Middle East & Africa, in the near future.
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Major players operating in the global retroreflective materials market include 3M, ORAFOL Europe GmbH, SATRA Technology Europe Centre Ltd., and Nippon Carbide Industries Co.