The competitive arena for specialty chemicals is extremely fragmented as most companies prefer to sign short term contracts for these chemicals from local manufacturers. BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, and Bayer AG – the top three providers of specialty chemicals in the world – collectively held only 10.6% of the market value in 2014.
While the top players hold a relatively smaller share in the specialty chemicals market, their rate of forward integration is very high. This allows them to ensure a consistent supply of specialty chemicals to high demanding regions.
At the same time, new entrants can expect to face strong competition from current players, according to Transparency Market Research. Existing players possess the advantage of economies of scale, thereby improving their cost-based competitive edge over new entrants.
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APAC Raises Demand for Agrochemicals, Attracts More Specialty Chemicals Manufacturers
“The Asia Pacific contains a large concentration of regional players in the specialty chemicals market,” states a TMR analyst. “This is due to the exceptionally high demand for agrochemicals in the region. This applies especially to China and India who therefore become the key regions demanding agrochemicals.”
A high demand for specialty chemicals is also seen in Latin America due to a growing concern over product quality.
Demand for Coated Paper Reduces in North America and Europe, Denting Demand for Specialty Chemicals
Europe and North America are showing a significant reduction in the consumption of coated papers, causing a downturn for providers of paper chemicals in the two regions. Both regions are evolving in the sense of text and media and moving towards the digital medium for the dissemination of information and news. This is having a visible impact on the paper industry and consequently, the specialty chemicals players that focus on paper coatings.
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Multiple paper coating manufacturers have had to change product types or even shut down due to the reduction in demand, which includes Resolute Forest Products, Inc., which had to shut down its Laurentide Mill in 2014.
The global market for specialty chemicals is expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.7% within a forecast period from 2015 to 2023. This market is expected to reach US$871.5 bn by the end of 2016 and US$1,210.1 bn by the end of 2023.
Asia Pacific is expected to consistently dominate the specialty chemicals market in terms of demand, owing to a largely agrarian population with a very high demand for agrochemicals. By the end of 2023, this region is expected to take up 54.4% of the market volume.
The product segment of agrochemicals itself is otherwise showing a steady growth rate. It is expected to take up 13.5% of the market volume. Besides this, there is a high collective demand for specialty chemicals from water management, nutraceuticals, cosmetic chemicals, printing inks, feed additives, flavors and fragrances, and a few others. This collective segment is expected to take up 21.5% of the market volume by 2023.