Prominent manufacturers in the global thermochromic materials market are OliKrom, Good Life Innovations Ltd, Matsui International Company, QCR Solutions Corp., New Color Chemical Co., Hali Industrial Co. Ltd., LCR Hallcrest, Ltd (NCC), Gem’innov, Smarol Industrial Co. Ltd., CTI (Chromatic Technologies), and L’Arca Srl.
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There is solid competition among the players in the global thermocromic materials market. One of the key strategies adopted by manufacturers to beat competition is product differentiation. Use of special effect inks such as thermochromic and photochromic inks is in line with latest marketing trends that emphasizes upon consumer and brand intercativity.
As per a report by Transparency Market Research, the global market for thermochromic materials will clock a solid 9.3% CAGR from 2017 to 2025 to become worth US$2.174 bn in 2025 from US$.988 bn in 2016.
Demand from Smart Textiles and Smart Packaging Market Makes North America Market Leader
Depending upon the type of thermochromism, the two broad segments of the global thermochromic materials are reversible and irreversible. Of the two, the reversible segment accounts for maximum share in the market. In 2016, the segment’s dominant share came to a substantial 60% in the market. Reversible thermochromic materials find application in bath toys, textiles, baby diapers, battery gauges, etc. Their demand primarily stems from the fact that irreversible thermochromic materials are limited to single-use as they fail to return to their original color on reversing the temperature.
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Based on geography, the key segments of the global thermochromic materials are North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa. North America, among them, holds a dominant share in the market. In 2016, it held almost a third of market share. In the years ahead, the region will likely grow its dominant share slightly to 34.8% on the back of demand for thermochromic materials from the smart textiles and smart packaging markets.
Wide Array of End-use Industries Drive up Demand
Thermochromic materials find application in different end-use industries. Their market is being driven by the demand for smart textiles from the fashion and home furnishing industry. Some such applications are tablecloths that change color upon contact with hot items on the table, ski outfits, chairs whose color indicates where a person has been sitting, and apparels having a particular motif painted on them that changes color. Thermochromic textiles can also be used as flexible sensors for functional usage for applications such as security or camouflage. Thermochromic inks are applied on packaging products for labelling, security printing, and for promotional activities.
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Market Hobbled by Poor Light Fastness of Thermochromic Materials
The global thermochromic materials market, on the other hand, is restrained by a major drawback of thermochromic materials, i.e., they generally exhibit poor light fastness. Such materials degrade in the presence of UV rays and undergo photochemical fading. In addition, thermochromic inks are more expensive than conventional inks. This is because manufacturing of thermochromic materials is highly specialized and complex. “Moreover, to thwart accidental activation during printing, specialized printing processes may be required to print with an irreversible thermochromic ink which increases costs significantly. Companies using thermochromic inks for packaging in case of direct food contact need to meet regulatory guidelines and undertake specific testing in order to ensure that thermochromic inks are compliant with the regulatory standards. This serves to add to costs and delay introduction of new products,” adds the lead analyst of the report.