The global pearlescent pigment market will grow significantly over the forecast period on account of the increasing preference for unique and aesthetic beauty in paints & industrial coatings. Global pearlescent pigment market size was over USD 390 million in 2015. Pearlescent or pearl pigments are a special type of fluorescent and phosphorescent pigments which provide a brilliant pearly finish when coated with a metallic oxide (usually titanium dioxide) in the presence of mica. These pigments are used not only for decorative purposes but also in applications such as optical filters and security printing, which is expected to lead to their increased adoption in various industries, driving growth.
These pigments are bad conductors of heat and electricity, have high acid and alkali resistance, and are stable even at very high temperatures, which make them a preferred choice for paints & coatings. The rising preference for aesthetic finishes of different colours in passenger vehicles, along with the expansion of the automotive industry in Mexico, Thailand, China and India is expected to be one of the key driving factors for market growth. Growing demand in expensive vehicles and sports cars will propel growth. These paints are also expected to witness substantial growth in the building and construction industry owing to their high gloss, deep colour, long durability, and good water repelling properties.
Rising usage of pearl light coatings to manufacturing semi-transparent plastic objects are anticipated to drive further growth of the industry, primarily on account of their application in the toy making industry. The eye-catching appearance of these substances coupled with their non-toxic nature is useful in the food packaging industry, which will further propel growth over the next eight years. Increasing usage in the field of digital printing as they are quite versatile in nature and provide enhanced consistency, compatibility, and viscosity compared to other printing inks, will drive demand in the near future. The use of borosilicate pearlescent pigments in personal care and beauty products provides a glamorous look and the demand for this material to manufacture various kinds of creams and lotions is expected to augment sales. Furthermore, increasing consumer awareness regarding the harmful effects of artificial ingredients and chemicals in these products will lead to their substitution by natural pearl essence, favouring industry growth.
Opportunities for market expansion will be provided by the advancements in manufacturing techniques and technological innovations which have resulted in sustainable and high-performance pearl pigments with better thermal stability and durability. However, stringent government regulations along with high costs involved in ensuring regulatory compliance are expected to hinder growth over the next eight years. A major challenge will also be provided by the high cost of these products in Europe and North America owing to high labour and raw material costs in these regions.
On the basis of product, the industry is segmented into the natural pearl, synthetic pearl, and borosilicate pigments. A natural pearl is expected to be the biggest segment over the forecast period owing to wide applications. However, the fastest growth will be shown by the synthetic pearl segment on account of low production cost and the overall stability and effects provided by ferric or titanium oxide-coated mica. The scarcity and high cost of raw materials required to manufacture natural pigments will lead to the growth of synthetic ones. The borosilicate pearl pigments will also show the substantial rise as a result of increasing adoption in the cosmetics industry for manufacturing lipsticks and powders.
On the basis of application, industry is segmented into paints & coating, printing inks, cosmetics, plastics, and others including food, textiles, paper & paperboard. Paints & coatings industry accounted for over 36.0% of the overall volume in 2015 and is expected to witness significant gains in light of increasing popularity for bright and different colour effects on vehicles coupled with a booming automobile industry. The plastics segment is also anticipated to show high gains owing to the use of these materials in toys, electronics, and other consumer goods to provide distinctive and subtle colour effects.
North America accounted for over 37.0% of the market share in 2015 on account of the high demand for luxury cars and widespread use of these paints in green buildings. Stringent environmental policies in the U.S. and Europe have led to widespread use of eco-friendly and non-toxic pearl pigments in the automobile and construction industries. Asia Pacific is expected to show high growth over the forecast period as a result of the rising disposable incomes in the region coupled with growing cosmetics, automobile, and construction industries in India, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Furthermore, the low cost of manufacturing pigments, as well as the easy availability of raw materials such as mica in the region are the factors expected to favour market growth.
Key players in the global market include BASF SE, Huaian Concord Industrial Product Co. Ltd., Sun Chemical Performance Pigments, L’ArcaSrl, LanscoColors, Geotech International B.V., Smarol Technology, Pritty Pearlescent Pigments, Fujian Kuncai Fine Chemicals Co. Ltd., RIKA Technology Co. Ltd., Nanyang Lingbao Pearl Pigment Co. Ltd., and BrenntagSpecialties Inc. This industry is characterized by the shifting of the production activities to Asia Pacific, as well as product innovations and strategic alliances between major players.
Research Support Specialist, USA