World demand for flame retardant additives is forecast to rise over 6 percent per year to 2.2 million metric tons in 2014. Gains will represent a substantial acceleration from the pace of the 2004-2009 period, during which demand was severely impacted by the effects of a global economic slowdown, especially in the mature markets of the US, Western Europe and Japan. In addition to an improved economic outlook, flame retardant demand will also benefit from trends toward more stringent safety and flammability standards -- particularly in the developing world -- and the rising use of plastic products instead of less flammable materials. These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in World Flame Retardants, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Concerns over the possibly damaging environmental and health effects of halogenated flame retardants have begun to cause a considerable shift in the product mix. Brominated flame retardants have come under increased scrutiny, and a combination of government regulations and image-conscious product manufacturers have led suppliers of the widely used chemical decaBDE to begin phasing out its production.
Alumina trihydrate was the leading flame retardant product by volume in 2009, and is also expected to see above-average gains in demand through 2014, driven by trends toward non-halogenated chemicals. Even more rapid advances, however, are forecast for phosphorus compounds and other flame retardants such as magnesium hydroxide, which feature favorable environmental and health profiles. Although brominated flame retardants are being phased out of a number of applications, demand for these products will remain healthy going forward, supported by their superior performance and the development of new, more environmentally friendly formulations.
The Asia/Pacific region will continue to be largest and fastest-growing market for flame retardants, accounting for half of world demand by 2014. Advances will be fueled by nearly ten percent annual growth in the large Chinese market, strong increases in major electronics-producing countries such as Taiwan and South Korea, and a solid turnaround in Japanese demand. Gains in North America and Western Europe will rise at a more subdued pace, although each -- like Japan -- will exhibit a strong rebound from the declining demand of the 2004-2009 period.
The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles.