USA demand for speciality silicas to exceed US$2bn in 2019

09 February 2016

Demand for speciality silicas in the USa is forecast to rise 4.7%/yr to US$2.1bn in 2019. Gains are expected to approach their longer-term growth rate, as they moderate from the post-recession growth of the 2009-2014 recovery period. Demand will find its strongest hold as silicas gain wider appeal through evolving market trends, such as increased usage in tyres and also as pent-up demand drives gains in the housing and construction industry. Many markets face maturity, including cosmetics and toiletries, as well as food and beverages, as do popular key applications within those markets, including toothpaste and cat litter. These and other trends are presented in Specialty Silicas, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Demand for specific silica products is closely tied to the outlook for key end use industries. According to analyst Larry Catsonis, "As a strong rebound in building and construction spending is expected in the forecast period, demand for silica gel, which finds application in a variety of coatings and paints, will see its most significant gains.” The outlook for precipitated silica, on the other hand, is tied strongly to the tyre industry. Precipitated silica is finding greater use as a filler and reinforcement agent in tyres, as it offers improved fuel economy over conventional tyres.

Precipitated silica will remain the largest segment of the speciality silica market in both volume and value terms. Precipitated silica is also expected to be the fastest growing speciality silica product through 2019, promoted by robust gains in the large tyre rubber sector, as well as in coatings and inks. Overall market value will benefit from the ongoing development of more expensive and higher-performance precipitated silicas, such as highly dispersible grades for tyre reinforcement.

Among speciality silica markets, the rubber market is forecast to expand at the most rapid pace through 2019, further strengthening its position as the leading outlet for speciality silicas. Though advances in US rubber consumption will slow as domestic production of motor vehicles and other manufactured goods posts weak growth, in the tyre rubber segment precipitated silica will find higher use and increased loadings in low rolling-resistance tyres. Cosmetics and toiletries represented the second largest market for speciality silicas in both volume and value terms in 2014 and will continue to do so through the forecast period. Precipitated silica is the most widely used product, accounting for more than 80% of demand in this market.

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