The superior structural properties of microspheres led to its increase in demand in existing and emerging applications which is driving the microspheres market globally.
The Microspheres market is estimated to account for $ 4.3 billion in 2017, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% to reach $ 7.0 billion by 2023.
Growing need for advanced drug delivery systems and drug carriers is expected to be a major factor for the growth of microspheres over the forecast period. The major restraints and challenges observed in this market are volatility in raw material prices, high cost of production, and high investments in R&D.
The opportunities for players in the microspheres market lies in exploring the demand from infrastructure development and expansion of healthcare segment in emerging economies of Asia-Pacific. Hollow microspheres account for the largest share in the microspheres market with respect to types, followed by solid microspheres.
The properties of hollow microspheres such as low crush strength, density, and absorption makes them a popular choice thus driving their demand globally. However, the application of solid microspheres depends on their size.
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On the basis of raw material, microspheres market can be classified as glass microspheres, polymer microspheres, ceramic microspheres, fly ash microspheres, and metallic microspheres. In 2017, Glass microspheres account for the largest share and is expected to continue as the largest segment during the forecast period.
Glass microspheres are preferred owing to their excellent properties such as lower viscosity, high melting point, and high chemical resistance in comparison to its counterparts. This has led to its increasing demand across high-value and growth industries such as automotive, biomedical, life sciences application, microscopy, and high-tech equipment and specialty.
Ceramic microspheres find vast applications in coatings segment as they possess high crush strength and hardness thus enhancing the durability of coatings.
In the applications segment, microspheres market is dominated by the construction composites application. The expansion of the construction industry in the emerging economies such as India and China drives the demand for microspheres in the construction composites application.
Pharmaceuticals & healthcare application is expected to be the fastest growing among all applications during the forecast period i.e. 2018-2023. This is owing to the increased investments in R&D of the drug delivery systems which will contribute to the growing demand of microspheres.
Steady growth is expected in Cosmetics and Paint & Coatings industry across emerging economies. Increasing demand for light-weight materials, syntactic foams, and ablative materials is anticipated to drive the microspheres demand in aerospace applications.
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In 2017, North America is the largest market for microspheres and is estimated to account for about 42.0-45.0% of the total microspheres market. It is followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific at second and third rank, respectively.
North America is anticipated to continue as the largest market for microspheres as it is the home of the major players, namely 3M, Momentive Performance Materials, Chase Corporation, Potters Industries, Luminex Corporation, and Mo Sci Corporation. In addition, growing demand from medical applications and R&D activities for development of effective medicines is driving the North America microspheres market and the trend is expected to prevail during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific will be the fastest growing market for microspheres during the forecast period. It is also anticipated that demand for microspheres will increase in years to come primarily due to deployment of microspheres in the construction composites owing to super structural properties.
As this is a high capital intensive industry involving high investments in R&D, to manage the costs and maintain the profits is an uphill task for all the players in the microspheres market. In such a case, potential collaborations and leveraging the resources is the optimum strategy adopted by the market players.
The key players include 3M, AkzoNobel N.V., Momentive Performance Materials Inc., Trelleborg AB, Potters Industries LLC, Sigmund Lindner GmbH, Matsumoto Yushi-Seiyaku Company, Chase Corporation, and Mo-Sci Corporation among others.
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