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The global cellulose market size was USD 219.53 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 305.08 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period.
Cellulose is a linear-structured polymer consisting of thousands of glucose monomers joint at β-1,4 linkages. It is the most abundant solid material on earth, as it is the main component in wood (40-45%) and other plant-based materials (up to 90%). Cellulose is primarily sourced from wood, cotton, flax, hemp, and jute. The inherent properties of cellulose include good mechanical performance, hydrophile, and hygroscopic nature.
Cellulose is either used as pulp or as a derivative. The pulp is majorly used in the manufacture of paper and fluff material for sanitary pads and diapers. The key derivatives of cellulose, such as cellulose fibers, cellulose esters, cellulose ethers, and microcrystalline cellulose, are used across various end-use industries, in which they perform multiple roles.
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Recent advancements in fabrication technologies, recyclability, and widening end-use opportunities have given cellulose market a boost. In the upcoming years, the importance of cellulose will scale up with end-use industries reorienting from petroleum-based products to sustainable resources for raw materials. This reorientation by the end-use industries is expected to have a positive effect on the cellulose market. Cellulose & cellulose derivatives manufacturers are focusing on sustainable differentiation in their products, to meet the reoriented demand. This results in diversification of the industrial structure and intensifies the research & development towards value-added consumables. The key to having a competitive edge in the market is defining the areas where cellulose is employed and the inherent properties making it suitable for that application.
“Development of Novel Cellulose-based Materials & Processes Shall Accelerate the Growth of Cellulose Market"
Paper and textiles have been the conventional products of the cellulose processing industries. Beyond that, products such as personal care appliances, vehicle parts, pharmaceuticals, construction material, and electronics also consist of cellulose and its derivatives. Furthermore, continual research has led to the development of novel cellulose-based products, which are expected to provide a boost to the market.
Cellulose fibers act as an attractive alternative to synthetic fibers used in the manufacturing of nonwovens, such as wet wipes and tissues. Currently, about 10% of nonwoven products are manufactured using natural fibers. Conventional cellulose-based textiles include rayon (viscose) and lyocell fibers. The traditional viscose production process has a chemical and environmental burden, which would be reduced with the development of novel production processes such as cellulose carbamate (CCA), and Biocelsol. These processes provide better sustainability and develop high-performance fibers that can compete with synthetic fibers. In addition to this, synthetic fibers face consumer concern regarding the generation of plastic waste and, thus, are expected to be replaced by the natural fibers in the near future. The rising consumer awareness regarding the sustainability and waste issues created by synthetic fibers shall further fuel the demand for cellulosic (cellulose-based fibers).
Additionally, cellulose is considered as the sustainable plastic of tomorrow due to its property of forming biocomposites with thermoplastics. The usage of these composites is being encouraged by both governments as well as large enterprises to create strong yet sustainable products. According to a report by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, in 2017, biocomposites produced in Europe reached a volume of 400 KT. The usage of biocomposites may be lower in volume but are expected to create a valuable opportunity as a sustainable replacement to traditional composite materials, which is expected to drive the demand for cellulose further.
Other novel materials such as nanomaterials of cellulose are used in various industries such as construction, automotive, paper & packaging, cosmetics, and electronics. The growth in the demand for nanocellulose is expected to be the highest owing to their multi-dimensional applicability, and continual research carried on developing better nanocellulose materials.
“Commodity Cellulose Pulp Segment is Expected to Account for Major Share in the Cellulose Market”
The cellulose market is segmented into commodity cellulose pulp, cellulose fibers, cellulose ethers, cellulose esters, microcrystalline cellulose, nanocellulose, and others, on the basis of derivative type. Amongst these, commodity cellulose pulp accounts for the largest market share owing to its significant application in the paper & pulp industry. The increasing use of commodity cellulose pulp in the manufacture of fluff for the textile industry is increasing the demand for cellulose.
Cellulose fibers are primarily used in the manufacture of textiles. On the other hand, they are used in the production of dietary fibers and thus find applications in the food industry. Cellulose fibers have excellent insulation properties along with a considerable mechanical strength, making them suitable for usage in the construction of walls and roofs. Other industries, such as paper & pulp, chemical synthesis, and pharmaceuticals also use cellulose fibers for multiple applications. The ongoing trend in the end-use industries to replace synthetic fibers to cellulosic fibers is expected to boost the growth of the cellulose market.
The family of cellulose ethers consists of members such as carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), methylcellulose, ethylcellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC), and their derivatives. Cellulose ethers form gel-like consistency when mixed with water due to its emulsification properties, which makes them suitable for application in food, construction, and paint & coatings industries. CMC, also known as cellulose gum, is the key ether in the cellulose market due to its ability to control the rheology. It finds applications in various industries such as food, pharmaceutical, construction, cosmetics, surfactants, and paper. The demand for CMC from all these industries shall be a key reason for market growth.
Similarly, cellulose esters consist of members such as cellulose acetate, cellulose acetate butyrate, cellulose acetate propionate, cellulose nitrate, and others. Cellulose acetate is majorly used in the tobacco industry to manufacture cigarette tows. Other application areas of cellulose esters include yarns, LCD screens, and paints & coatings. However, the demand for cellulose esters has declined in recent years due to regulations placed on cigarettes and the replacement of photographic films by digital storage devices. On the other hand, the demand for LCD screens has seen a rise from developing regions, which will surge the demand for cellulose ester and subsequently contribute to the growth of cellulose market.
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), also known as cellulose gel, is partially depolymerized, crystalline cellulose having a size smaller than 5 µm. It is used as a fat replacement, binder, and diluent in the manufacture of drugs and tablets. MCC also finds application in food products and cosmetics as an emulsifier and binder. On the other hand, nanocellulose, including cellulose nanofibrils (CNF), cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), and bacterial cellulose are used in construction, food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, paints, and oil & gas industries. These micro-materials are expected to shape the market for cellulose in the future.
“Pharmaceutical is Expected to be the Fastest-Growing Segment During the Forecast Period”
The cellulose market is segmented into textiles, food, chemical synthesis, pharmaceuticals, construction, paper & pulp, paints & coatings, and others, based on end-use industries of cellulose. Amongst these industries, the paper & pulp industry is expected to remain the major shareholder in terms of both value and volume during the forecast period. Cellulose pulp is the key material for the manufacture of paper and paper-based products. Additionally, it is used in the manufacture of napkins, tissues, and wet wipes, which are in demand from the personal care industry, providing a growth opportunity for the cellulose fiber market.
The highest demand is expected from the pharmaceutical industry wherein cellulose and its derivatives are used as a dietary fiber source, binders, emulsifiers, and rheology modifiers in tablets and syrups. MCC and nanocellulose are extensively used in the pharmaceutical industry as a catalyst and for targeted drug delivery systems. Similar objectives are fulfilled by cellulose and its derivatives during chemical synthesis, which is further expected to provide a boost to the market growth.
The demand for natural fibers is growing rapidly, which is expected to be driven by the cellulosic. Cellulose fibers are majorly used in the textile industry, followed by construction, paper & pulp, chemical synthesis, and food industries. As these industries have taken up steps to reduce their reliance on synthetic fibers and shift towards natural fibers, the demand for cellulosic is expected to rise.
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Moreover, cellulose and its derivatives are used by the construction and paints & coatings industry. Cellulose pulp and fibers make excellent material for the preparation of insulated walls and roofs. Cellulose-based coatings are used to provide improved rheology and sterilization qualities to the products. These coatings also offer excellent lacquer to the products making them shiny and durable.
Many derivatives of cellulose have found applications in food products. Cellulose gum is used as an emulsifier and binder in many food products. Its application in ice-cream manufacture to reduce the accumulation of ice further boosts its demand. Food manufacturers use cellulose gel as a fat replacement. Cellulose fibers, though indigestible, are essential for the functioning of the digestive system and thus are included in the manufacturing of food products. As the demand for functional foods increases, the market for all these cellulose-derivatives is expected to grow.
The market in the Asia Pacific occupied a significant share in terms of revenue & volume and is projected to witness the fastest growth over the projected horizon. The increasing demand for cellulose from the expanding food, construction, and chemical synthesis industries in the region shall be the reason for the significant growth of the cellulose market in Asia Pacific. Furthermore, the production of cellulose derivatives is expanding in China and India, owing to suitable government regulations, will further boost the market in the region.
North America Cellulose Market Size, 2018
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North America is expected to witness median growth in the global cellulose market. The U.S. is one of the major consumers for cellulose-based products for paper and construction industries in North America, which will aid market growth. Similarly, Europe is also expected to witness steady growth for cellulose owing to its increasing use in industries of pharmaceutical and food in the region. Furthermore, the research on cellulose and its derivative is carried out on a large scale in these two regions. This will further help in increasing the cellulose market value.
In South America and the Middle East & Africa, increased demand for cellulose from paper & pulp and construction industries is one of the key factors influencing chemical cellulose market size. South Africa, Turkey, and Brazil were the major contributors to this market in these regions. The demand for cellulose from numerous end-use industries comprising textile and construction are the factors responsible for the cellulose market growth in these regions.
“Key Players to Strengthen their Position by Offering Novel Cellulose Derivatives to the End-Use Industries”
The major producers of cellulose and cellulose derivatives are present in Asia Pacific, resulting in a semi-fragmented market. Some of the key cellulose market players include Diacel Corporation, DuPont De Nemours Company, Akzo Nobel, Ashland Inc., Celanese Corporation, and International Paper. The companies operating in this market are focusing on the development of niche cellulose derivatives. Several companies have employed their expertise and experience to expand their reach to global levels.
Celanese Corporation is a leader in the production of specialty chemicals and materials which are used in major industries for consumer applications. Ashland Inc., on the other hand, has forayed into different verticals of chemical cellulose market with offerings of cellulose ethers, and modified cellulose. The company offers these products custom-made for pharmaceutical, paints & coatings, electronics, food, and other industries. These players have focused on the development of one category of a derivative. Similarly, numerous key players in this market are focusing on developing a strong regional presence, reliable distribution channels, and novel product offerings.
A growing trend is observed in the penetration of the cellulose across various industries such as construction, paper & pulp, food, pharmaceutical, and textiles.
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The report provides qualitative and quantitative insights on the cellulose market and detailed analysis of market size & growth rate for all possible segments in the market. Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the competitive landscape, highlighting differnet strategies adopted by players. Various key insights presented in the report are the price trend analysis, recent industry developments in the global market, the regulatory scenario in crucial countries, macro, and microeconomic factors, SWOT analysis, and key industry trends, competitive landscape, and company profiles.
Value (USD Billion) and Volume (Million Tons)
By Derivative Type
By End-Use Industry
Fortune Business Insights says that the cellulose market was valued at USD 219.53 Bn in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 305.08 Bn by 2026.
Growing at a CAGR of 4.2%, this market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026)
The paper & pulp end-use industry segment is expected to be leading for cellulose market revenue and volume during the forecast period.
Development of novel cellulose-based materials & processes will drive the growth of cellulose market
Asia-Pacific is expected to hold the highest market share in terms of revenue of the cellulose market.
Ashland Inc., Celanese Corporation, and Lenzing AG are the key players in the market and have adopted strategies such as new product development and capacity expansion for their growth in the cellulose market.
Rising demand for cellulose derivatives from the food industry is a vital cellulose market trend.
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