The global pearlescent pigment market size was USD 1.32 billion in 2015. The market is characterized by the rising preference for exclusivity and aesthetic brilliance in automotive paints and industrial coatings. Technological innovations have charted a new course for high performance, special-effect pearl pigments that focus on sustainability, owing to low VOC content and enhanced performance characteristics such as durability, thermal stability, and increased barrier resistance.
Also, the advent of these pigments into the personal care and cosmetics industry has revolutionized consumer perception regarding appearance and beauty by offering low-cost solutions to achieve the desirable glamorous or ‘celebrity’ look. Several creams, powders, and lotions for the hair and body contain natural pearl essence as a sustainable, dermatologically safe alternative to toxic synthetic chemicals and ingredients.
These pigments are also widely used in gravure, offset, and flexographic printing inks owing to their versatile nature, compatibility, and insolubility with several substances and overall aesthetic appeal. Pearl pigments are rapidly replacing glitter and conventional solid colors in food packaging, toys, and textiles as well as other niche applications.
Pearlescent or pearl pigments are manufactured using a mica base, which lends an iridescent effect similar to the original ‘Mother of Pearl’. Original natural pearl essence is more expensive as compared to synthetic, mica-based effects. Thus, producers and consumers are increasingly adopting titanium, or ferric oxide coated mica pearlescent pigments to combat high production costs and ensure overall long-term benefits.
Growing consumer and industrial awareness regarding depleting natural ore reserves and mineral deposits is likely to impact the production of natural pearlescent pigment and boost demand for synthetic alternatives in large-scale applications.
Emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil are major consumers of these pigments on account of high adoption rate and rising consumer personal income. Growing popularity of mass-customized goods and increasing governmental support to encourage development of automotive and construction industries, particularly in emerging markets are also anticipated to broaden the scope of application for these pigments.
Rising concerns over toxicology and lead compounds have boosted the demand for alternative pigments in the paints and coatings industry. This has given rise to several legislations demanding the removal of heavy metals within Europe, U.S., and other regions. Manufacturers are thus increasingly being compelled to seek alternatives for heavy metals, thereby boosting the demand for sustainable special effect coated pearlescent pigments.
On the basis of product, the global pearlescent pigment market has been categorized into natural pearl essence, titanium dioxide coated mica, ferric/iron oxide coated mica, combination mica, and other products coated with chemicals such as bismuth oxychloride and basic lead carbonate.
Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) coated mica was the most widely used white-effect pigments in paints and printing inks, owing to its intense brightness. The market value the segment was estimated at USD 499.9 million in 2015. Growing popularity of high luster pigments with inherent sustainability and solubility in industrial coating applications is also expected to drive the growth over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific witnessed higher demand for ferric/iron oxide-coated mica pigments, with regional product revenue of USD 393.8 million in 2015. Other pigments are also likely to witness demand from multiple applications such as cosmetics, printing inks, and textiles.
Major applications include paints and coating, plastics, printing inks, cosmetics, and others such as food, textiles, paper and paperboard. Globally, automotive paints and industrial machinery/maintenance coatings occupy largest market share among all pearlescent pigment applications. The paints and coatings segment thus accounted for over 34.16% of the overall volume in 2015.
Growing popularity of sports and luxury vehicles with bright chromatic effects is likely to boost product demand in the automotive industry. However, VOC regulations implemented in U.S. and Europe are likely to drive technological changes and subsequent modifications in paints and coating applications.
Plastic formulators are also increasingly incorporating pearl pigments while compounding master batches to produce distinctive, yet subtle color effects for consumer goods, electronics, plastic components and even medical devices. The segment is likely to expand at the highest CAGR of 5.0% during the forecast period.
Regional markets include North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central and South America (CSA), and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). North America held the leading market share of 38.22% in 2015.
High personal disposable income has positively impacted automobile and consumer goods sales in China, India, and Vietnam, which in turn has driven the product demand. Increasing consumer consciousness regarding beauty and appearance with significant intentions to contribute environmentally, has promoted product application in cosmetics as well. Market volume for this segment is anticipated to expand at a 4.1% CAGR over the forecast period.
The global market is characterized by increasing product and technological innovations, strategic alliances among existing market players, coupled with a shift in production activities to emerging economies such as China and India.
Key participants include Huaian Concord Industrial Product Co. Ltd. (Kolortek), BASF SE, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments, Lansco Colors, L’Arca Srl (Arca Colours), Fujian Kuncai Fine Chemicals Co. Ltd., Geotech International B.V., RIKA Technology Co. Ltd., Smarol Technology, Nanyang Lingbao Pearl Pigment Co. Ltd., Pritty Pearlescent Pigments and Brenntag Specialties Inc.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2012 - 2014
2016 - 2022
Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2016 to 2022
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa
Revenue forecast, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
U.S., Germany, U.K., China, India, Brazil
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