The unexpected shifts in the global markets because of the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 virus have brought many major and minor tremors to industries of all sizes including the Lightweight Fillers Market.
It was estimated prior to this unanticipated outbreak that the Lightweight Fillers Market was expected to to reach US$ 7.7 billion in 2025. However, the gradual slowing down of industries will undoubtedly impose limits on the previously estimated growth rate.
Lightweight fillers are the substitutes of heavier substances offering greater weight reduction without compromising the volume of the end products. Further, these fillers enhance several properties of products such as durability, flexibility, thermal stability, and dimensional stability. They also save raw material cost by reducing the demand for binders/resins. Lightweight fillers majorly include microspheres that can expand up to 60 times from their original size without significantly gaining weight. These are functional additives, used to enhance the performance of the product, used for a variety of applications.
There are a variety of fillers present in the market. Each filler type is widely used in specific applications, driven by their distinct advantages and compete with some filler types having similar advantages. Lightweight fillers are majorly made from either glass, polymer, or ceramics. Thus, we have broadly classified materials into Glass Microspheres (hollow glass microspheres, foam glass granulates, perlite microspheres, and solid glass microspheres), Polymer Microspheres (expanded polymer microspheres and solid polymer microspheres), Ceramic Microspheres (cenosphere and ceramic microspheres), mineral fillers (wollastonite, ground mica, and calcined clay), and others (metallic microspheres).
The market was about to continue its journey of tremendous growth in the market with good growth opportunities in most of the application types. However, the rapid spread of COVID19 has entirely flipped the market dynamics and because of that, the market is expected to log a negative growth (decline) in the year 2020.
The construction industry is among one of the worst-impacted industries due to the pandemic. The industry has witnessed a downturn since the lockdown announced by several countries of the world to control the spread of COVID-19. The complete restriction in major economies has severely impacted the construction industry, the possible impact to be worsened than the great recession (2008-2009). As per the recent estimates of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, there could be a possible cumulative loss of US$ 9 trillion to global GDP during 2020-2021 with a decline of -3% in global real GDP in 2020. Currently, the construction industry accounts for more than 12% of the global GDP. The lightweight fillers market is strongly dependent upon the organic growth of the construction and automotive industries.
On the basis of application type, the lightweight fillers market is segmented as paints & coatings, plastics & rubber, construction materials, life sciences and pharmaceutical, agriculture materials, and others. Paints & coatings are projected to remain the most dominant application in the lightweight fillers market during the forecast period, owing to its widespread usage and excellent benefits. Fillers, especially the lightweight fillers have been gaining penetration in paints & coatings. For instance, there is greater use of lightweight fillers in roof paints/coatings of commercial & residential buildings, solar reflective coatings on vehicle’s roof, and reflective markings on roads. Lightweight fillers added into paints & coatings offer a huge reduction in VOCs, improve flowability, gloss control, solar reflectivity, thermal insulation, shrinkage resistance, and heat resistance and hardness; in addition to weight reduction.
Based on the material type, the market is segmented as hollow glass microspheres, foam glass granulates, cenosphere, perlite microspheres, expanded polymer microspheres, ceramic microspheres, solid glass microspheres, solid polymer microspheres, metallic microspheres, wollastonite, ground mica, and calcined clay. Hollow glass microsphere is likely to remain the most dominant material in the market during the forecast period, in terms of value, mainly driven by its excellent properties such as low density, thermal stability, and dimensional stability and widespread usage in various industries.
Based on the microsphere type, the market is segmented as hollow microspheres and solid microspheres. Hollow microsphere is likely to maintain its dominance in the market during the forecast period in terms of value as well as the volume. Hollow and solid microspheres vary widely in density; hence, they are used for different applications. Due to their lower densities, hollow microspheres are used as a replacement of heavy raw materials in order to reduce the weight of structure/part apart from enhancing their other properties; whereas solid microspheres are used to enhance the physical properties of structures/parts.
In terms of region, Europe is projected to remain the largest market for lightweight fillers during the forecast period in terms of value, propelled by Germany, France, and the UK. Rising demand for energy-efficient buildings and architectures, high penetration of lightweight fillers, and the presence of several market stakeholders including paints & coatings manufacturers, automotive OEMs, as well as lightweight filler manufacturers (Imerys S.A., Nouryon, Merck KGaA, Omya AG, Trelleborg AB, and BASF SE) are the major factors behind the dominance of the region. Many major countries of the European region are among the worst-affected nations of the world due to the pandemic, causing a greater decline in the regions’ market.
Asia-Pacific is expected to recover at the fastest pace from 2021 onwards, driven by an early recovery expected in China, which is among one of the leading countries for several industries, such as Automotive, Electrical & Electronics, Construction, and Consumer Goods. As per The United States Geological Survey, China is the world’s leading producer of minerals including wollastonite and calcined clay. Matsumoto Yushi-Seiyaku Co., Ltd, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd., Sinosteel Maanshan New Material Technology Co., Ltd, and Kureha Corporation are some of the major lightweight filler manufacturers based in the region.
The supply chain of this market comprises raw material suppliers, lightweight filler manufacturers, distributors, and end users. Some of the key players in the lightweight fillers market are Imerys S.A., Kureha Corporation, Matsumoto Yushi-Seiyaku Co., Ltd, Merck KGaA, Nouryon, Omya AG, PQ Corporation, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd., Sinosteel Maanshan New Material Technology Co., Ltd, and The 3M Company.