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The global softgel capsules market size was USD 6.52 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with soft gelatin capsules witnessing a positive demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market is expected to exhibit a strong increase of 19.2% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 6.94 billion in 2021 to USD 9.59 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 5.5% in the 2021-2027 period. The sudden drop in CAGR is attributable to the market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
A softgel capsule is a solid capsule surrounding a semi-solid or liquid center. They are oral dosage forms for medicine similar to capsules. These capsules are a combination of water, gelatin, opacifier, and plasticizers such as sorbitol or glycerin. The rising prevalence of chronic ailments such as cardiovascular diseases is one of the major factors supporting the growth of the global soft gelatin capsules industry. For instance, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, 30.3 million U.S. adults (12.1%) were diagnosed with cardiovascular disorders. Hence, the growing prevalence of heart disorders across the globe is one of the significant factors boosting the demand for soft capsules.
Moreover, several clinical studies suggest that supplementation with plant sterols helps in the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases. For instance, researchers from Biofortis Clinical Research and Pharmative suggested that five weeks of supplementation with plant sterols softgel in combination with lifestyle changes may reduce the total cholesterol levels by 7.4%.
COVID-19 Pandemic: Vitamins Help in the Prevention of COVID-19 Infection, Boosting Demand for Softgel Capsules
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the healthcare sector. There has been a tremendous disruption in the supply chain of various companies. However, it has been noticed that the pandemic surprisingly reflected a positive growth in these capsules business. This is due to the fact that several vitamins and diet supplements are sold in the form of softgel capsules and as per research, it is seen that vitamins such as vitamin C and few others help in the prevention of the infection. Owing to the above-mentioned factor, the market witnessed positive growth.
Consumer demand for mineral supplements and vitamins is rising as customers look to support their immune health, reduce anxiety and boost overall wellness in the face of the COVID-19. Since March, weekly sales of vitamins and minerals experienced a positive surge of 20%-140%, coupled with amplified social media interest. Vitamins and minerals demand in 2020 are anticipated to grow despite increasing recessionary pressures in the industry.
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Growing Demand for Plant-based Capsules is a Prominent Trend
Vegetarian ѕоftgеl сарѕulеѕ or non-animal softgel capsules are obtained from plant-bаѕеd nаturаl sources, free of аnіmаl dеrіvаtіvеѕ and GМО, and dеvоіd of gluten and modified sugars.
Оnе of the major advantages of using cellulose-bаѕеd or vegetarian сарѕulеѕ is that these capsules are not made of аnіmаl bурrоduсtѕ. This dіѕtіnсt сhаrасtеrіѕtіс allows them to be suitable for individuals who chose not to соnѕumе animal-sourced products. Certainly, vegetarian capsules stand out when it comes to the aspect of stability, absorption, and bioavailability. Concerning solubility, both types of capsules dissolve well at body temperature, however, vegan capsules seem to dissolve better in the water at room temperature compared to the gelatin type caps.
Additionally, vegetarian сарѕulеѕ have no known роtеntіаl health risk, even when соnѕumеd for a long term, as they are 100% nаturаl. Owing to the above mentioned benefits of vegan capsules, there is an increasing demand for these wide range of products among the population. Hence, pharmaceutical companies are considering this as a lucrative trend to market vegan capsules, thereby capturing a major share in the industry.
Increasing Number of Clinical Trials Supporting Usage of Softgel Capsules to Spur Revenue Growth
The growing number of clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of soft gelatin capsules in the treatment of several ailments is a major factor stimulating market growth. For instance, in August 2018, InnoPharmax Inc. sponsored a clinical study with the primary objective to assess the safety and tolerability of D07001 softgel in patients who have achieved first-line chemotherapy or combined chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) for unresectable metastatic or locally advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC). Hence, such factors supporting the usage of these capsules in various ailments will strongly support the market growth across the forecast period.
Loss of Patent Exclusivity to Result in Revenue Decline of Pharmaceutical Companies
The biggest challenge for healthcare companies in the creation, exploitation, as well as protection of the IP throughout their life. Pharmaceutical companies strive hard to fight off patent expiration and generic competition to protect their money-making. According to Statista 2020, the prescription drug revenue is at risk in the coming years due to the patent expiration of major drugs. It states that in the year 2019, the value of prescription drugs was USD 46 billion and had a drastic decline to USD 16 billion in 2020. Therefore, the entrance of generics will lead to greater competition for prescription drugs and is thus anticipated to affect the market growth.
Increasing Investments in R&D to Help Gelatin Capsules Segment Dominate
Based on the type segment, the market is segmented into gelatin capsules and non-animal soft gel capsules. The gelatin capsules segment is expected to dominate the market throughout the forecast period. The surging investment for research and development activities pertaining to these products is one of the major factors supporting segmental growth.
These factors are expected to propel the growth of the gelatin capsules segment.
The non-animal segment can be categorized into starches, pullulan, and others. The segment is expected to witness a lucrative growth rate during the forecast period. This is due to the rising demand for vegan products across the globe owing to their non-toxic nature.
Growth in Health & Dietary Supplements due to Increased Usage in Treatment of Several Diseases
On the basis of application, the market can be categorized into prescription medicines and health & dietary supplements. The health & dietary supplements segment dominated the market in 2019. This growth is attributable to the increasing demand for these supplements in the treatment and prevention of several diseases. Hence, a surge in the demand for these products would influence capsule manufacturers to develop and commercialize such health supplements, thus augmenting segmental growth. For instance, in April 2020, Spain's dermatological company, ISDIN, announced the launch of SunISDIN Softgel Capsules in the U.S. market. It is an oral dietary supplement designed to help the skin fight photoaging.
On the other hand, the prescription medicines segment is expected to witness a significant growth rate across the forecast period. The increasing prevalence of chronic health ailments across the globe is one of the major factors supporting a positive growth trajectory for the segment. For instance, in August 2018, InnoPharmax Inc., stated that it has been proven via clinical trials that certain products, such as D07001- softgel capsules are efficient in patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. Hence, the increasing usage of such products in certain chronic ailments as a pharmaceutical treatment will strongly support lucrative segmental growth.
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Pharmaceutical Companies Segment to Hold Maximum Portion of the Market
In terms of manufacturers, the market can be segmented into pharmaceutical companies, nutraceutical companies, and others. The pharmaceutical companies segment accounted for the maximum softgel capsules market share in 2019. The high share of the segment is attributable to the fact that pharmaceutical companies are significantly manufacturing these capsules in the past few years such as Thermo Fisher Scientific and few others. While suppliers initially targeted nutraceutical industries to market such capsules, they have now become an important choice for pharmaceutical formulators.
The nutraceutical companies segment, on the other hand, held considerable market revenue in 2019 and is projected to witness a lucrative growth rate during the analysis period. The stable growth of this segment is majorly due to the increasing number of health and diet supplement launches by major nutraceutical companies across the globe.
North America Softgel Capsules Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)
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In the global softgel capsules market report, North America stood at USD 2.29 billion in 2020. The increased preference of key players to introduce products in developed countries of North America is a key factor driving the growth of the market in the region. Key players target approvals from the U.S. FDA and other regulatory bodies to gather more customer base in other regions.
On the other hand, the Europe market held considerable market revenue in 2020. This is due to the higher investment in the research and development of soft gelatin capsules in numerous countries of Europe.
The Asia Pacific market is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This is due to the presence of a larger patient pool suffering from several chronic ailments. Moreover, the geographic expansion of major players in the untrodden economies of Asia Pacific will further strengthen its growth rate across the analysis time frame.
The Middle East & Africa along with Latin America holds huge growth potentials and is anticipated to emerge lucratively. The rising prevalence of chronic ailments such as CVD and the growing awareness among the population pertaining to the intake of several health and dietary supplements are a few of the factors likely to contribute to the expansion of the market in these regions.
Key Players Focus on Strengthening Positions through Pipeline and Top Selling Products
The global industry is nearly consolidated in nature with three players leading the market. In terms of revenue, Capsugel (Lonza) and Catalent, Inc. are in close competition. The presence of top-selling products such as Sgcaps Capsules, Joint Comfort Softgel, Cognitive Support Softgel, Coated Softgels, and potential pipeline candidates are primary factors for the dominant position of Capsugel (Lonza) and Catalent, Inc.
Moreover, technological advancements in the manufacturing of softgels are another major factor supporting the company’s growth. For instance, in October 2020, Catalent, Inc. launched a new technology called OptiGel DR for the formulation and manufacturing of delayed or enteric release soft gelatin capsules. The technology allows these capsules to be made by combining a naturally derived polysaccharide called pectin with gelatin. This is done to eliminate the need for a separate capsule coating.
An Infographic Representation of Softgel Capsules Market
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The softgel capsules market research report offers an elaborative analysis of numerous factors affecting the global market. Information on trends, drivers, market opportunities, threats, and restraints of the market can further help stakeholders gain valuable insights into the industry. The report also provides a detailed competitive landscape by presenting information on key players, along with their strategies, in the market.
Value (USD Billion)
The value of the global market was USD 6.52 billion in 2020.
Fortune Business Insights says that the market is projected to reach USD 9.59 billion by 2027.
The value of the market in North America was USD 2.29 billion in 2020.
The market is projected to rise at a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period (2021-2027).
The gelatin capsules segment is set to lead this market.
The increasing prevalence of chronic ailments such as cardiovascular diseases is the key factor driving the global market.
Capsugel (Lonza) and Catalent, Inc. are the top players in the global market.
North America is expected to hold the highest market share.
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