The global industrial salts market size was valued at USD 12.98 billion in 2016. Rising demand for the product in key application industries including highway deicing, oil & gas industry, water treatment, agriculture and chemical processing, primarily for the production of chlorine, caustic soda, and soda ash is expected to drive growth over the forecast period.
The industry is expected to witness a significant growth owing to a wide range of direct uses such as for deicing and agriculture purposes and indirect uses including in chemical processing industry to derive chlorine and caustic soda. Chlor-alkali sector in the chemical industry is a major consumer of the product owing to unavailability of any economic substitute for the product.
U.S. industrial salts market revenue by product, 2014 - 2025 (USD Million)
The market is expected to grow on account of the growing technological innovations pertaining to the production of high purity salt such as vacuum pan technology. However, the adoption of the technology is low owing to the presence of low-cost production techniques such as conventional mining, solution mining and solar evaporation.
Deposits or solar evaporation operations of with different production capacities are available in almost every country across the globe. Landlocked countries majorly import the product; however, some of the landlocked African countries have rock salt deposits as a source. Furthermore, unavailability of perfect substitute is expected to drive growth.
Mining regulations such as Mine Health and Safety Act related to health and safety of the miners and regulations enforced by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental protection regulate the industry. Furthermore, manufacturers have to adhere to several regulations related to permits from the government which is expected to restrain growth.
The supply chain management in the industry governs and monitors the entire channel in order to ensure reliable distribution under competitive terms and conditions. Major players involved in the market use various transport carriers including cost-effective railway lines, waterways, and their own logistics services to improve supply chain efficiency.
Brine is a major source of industrial salts as it is derived from large saline waters bodies or through solution mining. The growing restrictions on mining activities are expected to have a positive impact on the use of brine in the application industries. Brine is majorly used in chemical processing, which is a major application industry, leading to high demand for the brine.
Processing cost associated with brine to produce crystals is high owing to increased energy consumption to vaporize the brine. In addition, boiling operations in vacuum pan technique consume high energy responsible for increased prices. As a result, the technology is used in specific high-purity applications.
Salt mines account for a large market share and are expected to witness growth over the forecast period owing to rising consumption of rock salt in application industries. In addition, demand in de-icing application expected to have a positive impact on the demand. However, several regulations pertaining to the mining activities are expected to restraint growth.
The process of obtaining the product from mines require several approvals, license, and permits from mining authorities across the globe, which is expected to restrain growth. In addition, operating rate of mine facilities fluctuates with changing demand for the de-icing application, which is expected to slow down the overall growth over the projected period.
Brine is a high-concentration saline solution, which is obtained from large waterbodies and dissolving mine deposits through solution mining technique. Chemical companies utilize a significant amount of the product in the form of brine, for production of chlorine and caustic soda. According to the statistics by USGS, brine accounted for 38% of the consumption in the U.S. in 2016.
Solar salt accounts for 40% of the overall production worldwide and is expected to witness the fastest growth owing to the high demand in water-treatment and agricultural applications. However, factors associated with the product including production cost, time, purity level and harvesting based on climatic condition, is expected restraint market growth.
The demand for rock salt is dependent on winter weather conditions from cold regions as deicing is the major application of the product. In addition, demand from other application industries including agriculture and food processing is expected to grow further driving the market growth for the product worldwide.
Pellet, mini cube, and special purity salt are high purity products produced using vacuum pan technique and find applications in hospitals, food plants, medical industry, circuit board manufacturing, and water softening. Vacuum pan technique is expected to witness robust growth, supported by increasing penetration in chemical and food processing industry.
Increasing penetration of the product in chemical processing, de-icing, water treatment, oil & gas and agriculture products is expected to drive the demand over the forecast period. Rising demand for the product in chemical processing and chlor alkali applications, primarily in China and India is expected to augment growth.
Chemical industry accounted for over 50% of the global consumption in 2016. Chemical manufacturers utilize the product in various grades including rock, brine, and high purity grades. However, major chemical companies prefer to produce artificial brine with high purity level for captive consumption by solution mining technique.
Global industrial salts market by application, 2016 (%)
De-icing is the second largest application on account of abundant supply, low cost, and effective ice control properties. Rock salt is majorly used for this application as it does not require any kind of purification. Use of brine for road de-icing has been increasing for the past few years on account of its high effectiveness at a lower temperature, i.e., below 25oF.
Rising demand for the product in water treatment application from developing economies is expected to drive the market over the forecast period. Increasing industrialization, rising water quality standards, more complex manufacturing processes, and improved access to safe drinking water supplies and sanitation facilities are expected to aid market growth for water treatment.
China and the U.S. combined accounted for the largest revenue share in 2016. China has increased its production owing to the increasing demand and is expected to grow at 2.7% over the forecast period. Growing industrialization in Asia Pacific and rising demand for the product in chemical industries is expected to increase consumption over the projected period.
The market in North America is expected to witness growth owing to widespread use in de-icing in extreme weather conditions. The market in the U.S. accounted for 16.4% of global consumption in 2016, primarily due to rising product demand in highway deicing and chemical processing.
Central & South America is rich in natural deposits, with high production capacities. Brazil and Chile are dominant producing as well as consuming nations in the region, exporting a large amount of the product to North America and Europe. In addition, the growing demand for the product in agricultural applications is expected to increase captive consumption in the region.
The market in Middle East & Africa is expected to have highest growth of 3.3% over the forecast period. The region is expected to indicate increase in demand on account of industrial diversification in the region, particularly the expansion of chemical production and chemical processing capacities.
Established players such as K+S Group, benefits from the logistically favorable proximity of the production sites in Europe, North & South America. With a network of production facilities, global players can respond more flexibly than local competitors to fluctuations in weather dependent demand for de-icing, ensuring reliable supply to customers.
The companies in the industry are highly competitive and compete on the basis of the quality of the product produced and regional expansion. Established players such as Morton Salt, and Compass Mineral compete in terms of regional expansion with a focus on high-margin segments, such as pharmaceutical and food processing.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2016
2017 - 2025
Volume in million ton, revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2017 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Germany, UK, China, India, Japan, Brazil
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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Segments covered in the report
This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis on the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global industrial salts market on the basis of source, product, application, and region:
Source Outlook (Volume, Million Tons, Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Product Outlook (Volume, Million Tons, Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Salt in brine
Vacuum pan salt
Application Outlook (Volume, Million Tons, Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Oil & Gas
Regional Outlook (Volume, Million Tons, Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
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