The global polyethylene (PE) wax market size was valued at USD 718.2 million in 2014. Rising shale gas developments in North America and China along with increasing demand from coatings and printing inks manufacturers is expected to drive the market over the forecast period. Moreover, owing to the shale gas boom of North America, ethylene production has actively witnessed the reduction in manufacturing costs.
The recent decline in crude oil prices is likely to create favorable market conditions for ethylene manufacturers in other regions as well. Increasing demand from paint & coating industry in countries such as India, China, and Vietnam are expected to foster the growth of global polyethylene wax industry.
Furthermore, stringent emission standards on VOC emissions are expected to trigger the demand for enhanced coating system, i.e., solvent-borne coating system demand. This increase in coating system demand is expected to drive global polyethylene wax industry for coating application areas. Food processing and packaging industry are also getting affected by stringent food and safety regulations. These regulations have created the need for improved quality of packaging and enhanced processing which in turn is expected to augment global PE wax demand in food packaging industries.
On the other side, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is influencing PE wax use in food packaging industry as PE waxes with molecular weights as described by the regulatory body are allowed to be used in food packaging industry. Therefore, the industry is both positively as well as negatively affected by regional regulatory agencies including FDA and REACH.
Polymerization emerged as the most significant technology segment over the forecast period owing high demand for HDPE wax which is mainly used for industrial paints, printing inks, coatings, adhesives, paper, textile, PVC stabilizer, and rubber & plastics processing aid. Low density polymerized, and high density polymerized waxes are obtained using polymerization technology. Thus, this technique is adopted by several PE wax manufacturers on account of developments in printing inks and coating industries which is expected to augment LDPE and HDPE wax market growth.
Modification technology segment is expected to emerge as the fastest growing segment over the forecast period. The technology is used for acid-modified, oxidized, particular monomer, copolymer manufacturing. On account of high growth in acid-modified and oxidized demand, the technology share is also expected to show the increase over the forecast period.
High density polymerized was the leading product segment and accounted for a market share of 39.2% in 2014. High density polymerized PE wax is substantially used in the textile industry and as a lubricant for plastics processing. The product shows compatibility with lubricants, plasticizers, stabilizers and also offers low melt viscosity. On account of widening application in various industries coupled with its high performance properties, the market share is expected to experience increase and reach to 39.8% by 2022.
Oxidized PE wax segment emerged as the second largest product segment in 2014. The segment is expected to highly grow with the development of the coating, plastics, leather rubber, textile, shoe, lubricants, additives and water-based paints. Coating industry is also expected to augment oxidized PE wax segment growth owing to stringent regulations in the automobile industry. Oxidized PE wax is increasingly being used in nonionic emulsions, water-based wax emulsions and PVC processing in numerous manufacturing sectors including adhesives, textile industry, packaging, and paper coating.
Masterbatches emerged as the leading segment and accounted for a market share of 23.6% in 2014. Owing to the wide application as plastic additives have high demand as it directly depends upon plastic consumption. Owing to the significant development in masterbatches industry in emerging economies such as India, China, Vietnam, and Korea, the segment dominated the overall PE wax demand.
The plastics segment occupied the second largest market share of 20.3% in 2014. Polyethylene waxes have lubricating and release properties which support the processing of resin. Moreover, these waxes are used extensively for dispersing colors and other additives in plastics. Increasing demand for PE plastics by packaging industry is likely to foster the PE plastics market segment over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific reckoned as the most significant regional market and accounted for 35.3% of the total market volume in 2014. The market share is expected to slightly increase to reach 37.3% by 2022. China’s goal to develop shale gas plays will be a decisive factor for the overall Asia Pacific PE wax industry, which is expected to benefit from the lower raw material prices and augment supply levels over the forecast period.
China’s well-established infrastructure coupled with a considerable number of manufacturers in the country resulted in the dominance of Asia Pacific in 2014. Over the forecast period, Asia Pacific share is expected to increase further owing to the development of end-user industries in China, Vietnam, India and other Asia Pacific countries.
North America accounted for approximately 27.6% of the market in 2014 by volume. The U.S. is one of the leading exporters of organic chemicals and accounted for around 15% of the export market share of global organic chemicals in 2012. The primary driver which is expected to boost the organic chemical market in North America is the development of shale gas reserves.
Owing to these developments, polyethylene wax market is likely to grow at a healthy rate over the forecast period in the region. Increasing production of ethylene along with growing investments in paint & coating industry is expected to trigger the demand for different polyethylene wax products across different areas.
The industry is highly fragmented with a considerable number of key players such as Marcus Oil & Chemicals Private Ltd, Honeywell, BASF, Westlake Chemical. High level of integration both in raw material and distribution is likely to be witnessed. Colossal price competitiveness coupled with technological advancement is a significant trend followed in global polyethylene wax market.
Polyethylene waxes, on account their ability to be modified as per specific customer needs are expected to experience high demand over the forecast period. Key industry participants are adopting various market strategies such as purchasing technology, product development, expansion, acquiring smaller players, and integrating its operations.
On account of different chemical properties, easy transportation and cost emerge as significant concerns. It is cost effective and easier to transport hard waxes over soft PE waxes. There are manufacturers which have integrated their operations and are into selling and exporting businesses.
Some of the companies engaged in the development and expansion of this market include Merco Wax Company, Honeywell, Trecora Chemical, Baker Hughes, BASF, Zell Chemie International, Michelman, Marcus Oil & Chemicals Private Ltd, Westlake Chemica OPI Inc., Innospec Inc Clariant and Mitsui Chemicals.
Honeywell purchased technology from Evonik Industries for polyethylene wax production. The technology consisted of ziegler-natta catalysts and aimed at improving polyethylene wax performance in paints, coating, printing inks, and adhesives industries. In the current scenario, this technology is used by some chemical and plastic manufacturers across the globe. The technology also helps in developing PE wax additives to enhance its performance.
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