Antibacterial glass is a type of glass designed to eliminate majority of the bacteria that may form on its surface as well as prevent the spread of fungi. Prolonged contact with surfaces having some strains of harmful bacteria may result in contraction of infection or disease. As a result, antibacterial glass is particularly beneficial in spaces that require a high degree of hygiene and sterile environment, such as in hospitals, bathrooms, etc. The global antibacterial glass market was valued at USD 142.1 million in 2013, which is expected to reach USD 222 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% from 2014 to 2020. AGC Glass Europe patented its antibacterial glass; it involves infusing silver ions into the upper layers of the glass to be rendered antimicrobial or antibacterial in nature. Growing number of hospital acquired infections (HAI) or nosocomial infections is expected to be the key driving force for the market over the next six years. Bacteria responsible for HAI include MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), which are multi-resistant to antibiotics. The primary technique employed to fight against MRSAs includes ensuring basic hygiene such as by washing hands as well as environmental cleaning. However, architectural prevention such as using antibacterial glass for constructing hospital areas including isolation rooms and hematology departments is also of key importance. In addition to these areas, antibacterial glass is also useful in damp locations prone to bacterial and fungal development; these include swimming pools, health spas, sports halls, etc. Low consumer awareness levels regarding the importance of antibacterial products may be a challenge for market participants over the next six years.
Majority of antibacterial glass production involves the use of silver as the major active ingredient; antimicrobial properties are ensured through infusion or coating of the ingredient. Silver accounted for 92.3% of the overall market share in 2013; it is also expected to grow faster than the global average over the forecast period. This can primarily be attributed to its toxicity to a wide range of microorganisms. AGC Glass Europe’s patented process also involves the use of silver, which is expected to drive the market. Other active ingredients include copper, silicon, titanium, zeolite, etc.
Hospitals are expected to be the largest and fastest growing application segment of antibacterial glass over the forecast period. It accounted for 42.6% of the overall market share in 2013, with an estimated CAGR of 7.1% from 2014 to 2020. Clear and painted glasses, as well as mirrors infused or coated with antimicrobial agents are useful in oncology and geriatric units, burns units, maternity wards, infirmaries as well as laboratories among others. These products are also used for food and beverage applications, which are expected to witness growth over the forecast period. In this segment, antibacterial glass facilitates the prolonged storage of food in glass containers by suppressing the growth and propagation of bacteria and other microorganisms. Architectural solutions for preventing bacterial infections in residential spaces by using antibacterial mirrors and surfaces are expected to drive antibacterial glass adoption.
Europe is expected to remain the largest market over the forecast period, it accounted for 60.6% of the global market share in 2013. It is also expected to grow at the fastest CAGR of 7.1% from 2014 to 2020, mainly due to the presence of key participants such as AGC Glass Europe in the region. Growing demand for smartphones fitted with antimicrobial cover glass in the future is also expected to positively impact global market growth.
The global market is consolidated in nature, and key industry participants include AGC Glass Europe, Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG), Saint Gobain, etc. AGC Glass Europe launched its antibacterial glass offering in 2007, which has been tested by university laboratories. Performance evaluation involved tests on a range of bacteria and fungi including Staphylococcus Aureus, Escherichia Coli, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Aspergillus Niger, etc. U.S.-based Corning launched antimicrobial Gorilla Glass in January 2014, which is formulated with ionic silver in order to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, mold, etc. Since the company provides Gorilla Glass to major companies such as Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC, this development is expected to positively impact the industry over the next six years.
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