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The global softgel capsules market size was valued at USD 6.72 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 7.07 billion in 2023 to USD 10.49 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period.
A softgel capsule is a solid capsule that has a semi-solid or liquid center and is taken orally. These capsules are a combination of water, gelatin, opacifier, and plasticizers, such as sorbitol or glycerin. The rising awareness regarding the preventive care and growing prevalence of chronic ailments, such as cardiovascular diseases are major factors supporting the global softgel capsules market growth. For instance, according to an article published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2022, approximately 523 million people globally had some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and around 19 million deaths were due to CVD in 2020. Hence, the growing incidence of heart disorders across the globe is one of the significant factors boosting the demand for soft gelatin capsules. Also, the growing geriatric population, high healthcare expenditure, and steps taken to improve lifestyle will promote the product adoption during the forecast period.
Moreover, several clinical studies suggest that consuming plant sterol supplements can treat various chronic diseases. Such research initiatives to expand the consumption of soft gelatin capsules and introduce new products will propel the market growth.
Growing Demand for Vitamins to Prevent COVID-19 Infection Positively Impacted Market
The COVID-19 pandemic adversely impacted the healthcare sector. There were tremendous disruptions in the supply chain of various companies operating in this sector. However, it was observed that the pandemic had a positive influence on the market. This is because the consumption of several vitamins and diet supplements increased considerably during this period. These supplements are typically sold in the form of softgel capsules, and research shows that vitamins, such as vitamin C helps in preventing the infection. Demand for mineral and vitamin supplements rose as customers looked for ways to support their immune health, reduce anxiety, and boost overall wellness during the outbreak. According to an article published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2023, several vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, fatty acids, and other dietary supplement ingredients were used to prevent and treat the COVID-19 infection. Thus, there was an increase in the usage of softgel capsules, thereby favoring the market growth.
Additionally, several key players operating in the market, such as Capsugel (Lonza) and Catalent, Inc. experienced positive revenue growth in 2020. But these companies witnessed a decline in their revenues due to less product demand and inflation in various countries in 2021. However, the market is expected to grow at a notable rate during the forecast period.
Growing Demand for Plant-based Capsules to Emerge as Prominent Market Trend
One of the most prominent trends witnessed in the market is the growing demand for plant-based capsules due to their multiple advantages. Vegetarian ѕоftgеl сарѕulеѕ or non-animal softgel capsules are obtained from plant-bаѕеd natural sources, free of аnіmаl dеrіvаtіvеѕ & GМО, and dеvоіd of gluten and modified sugars. Оnе of the significant advantages of consuming cellulose-bаѕеd or vegetarian сарѕulеѕ is that they are not made of аnіmаl bу-рrоduсtѕ. This dіѕtіnсt сhаrасtеrіѕtіс allows them to be suitable for individuals who choose not to соnѕumе animal-sourced products. Certainly, vegetarian capsules stand out when it comes to stability, absorption, and bioavailability. Regarding solubility, both types of capsules dissolve well at body temperature. However, vegan capsules seem to dissolve better in water at room temperature compared to gelatin-based capsules. As per an article published by Wellbeing Nutrition in 2022, plant-based capsules are more effective, help produce long-lasting effects, and have no allergy risk.
Additionally, vegetarian сарѕulеѕ have no known potential health risks, even when consumed for a long time, as they are 100% natural. Owing to the benefits of vegan capsules mentioned above, the population is increasing its preference for such medicines. Hence, pharmaceutical companies consider this a lucrative opportunity to promote vegan capsules, thereby capturing a significant market share.
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Increasing Number of Clinical Trials Supporting Consumption of Softgel Capsules to Spur Market Progress
The growing number of clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of soft gelatin capsules in treating several ailments is a major factor stimulating the market growth. For instance, in August 2021, InnoPharmax Inc. sponsored a clinical study to assess the safety and tolerability of the combination of D07001-softgel capsules and Xeloda/TS-1 in patients suffering from advanced biliary tract cancer. Hence, such initiatives supporting the consumption of these capsules to treat various ailments will strongly support the market growth during the forecast period.
Loss of Patent Exclusivity to Cause Decline of Pharmaceutical Companies’ Revenues
The biggest challenge for healthcare companies is creating, exploiting, and protecting their IP. Pharmaceutical companies strive hard to fight off patent expiration and generic competition to protect their money-making products. According to Fierce Pharma 2021, prescription drug revenue might be at the risk of declining in the coming years due to patent expiration of 20 world’s best-selling drugs. Therefore, the entry of generics will lead to greater competition for prescription drugs and is thus anticipated to negatively affect the market growth.
Increasing Investments in R&D to Boost Demand for Gelatin Capsules
Based on type, the market is segmented into gelatin capsules and non-animal softgel capsules. The gelatin capsules segment is expected to dominate the market throughout the forecast period. The surging investment in research and development activities to manufacture these products is one of the major factors supporting the segment’s growth.
These factors are expected to propel the growth of the gelatin capsule segment.
The non-animal softgel capsules segment is further categorized into starches, pullulan, and others. This segment is expected to grow steadily during the forecast period. This is due to the rising demand for vegan products across the globe owing to their non-toxic nature.
Health & Dietary Supplements to Witness Robust Demand Due to Their Effectiveness in Treating Several Diseases
Based on application, the market is categorized into prescription medicines and health & dietary supplements.
The health & dietary supplements segment dominated the market in 2022. The segment’s growth is attributed to the increasing demand for these supplements to treat and prevent several diseases. Hence, a surge in the demand for softgel health supplements will encourage capsule manufacturers to develop and commercialize such products, thus augmenting the segment’s 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 photo aging.
The prescription medicines segment is also expected to witness a significant growth rate over the forecast period. The increasing prevalence of chronic health ailments across the globe and rising consumption of such products to treat specific chronic ailments will strongly support the segment’s growth.
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Strong Production Capacity of Pharmaceutical Companies Enable to Hold Maximum Portion of the Market
In terms of manufacturers, the market is segmented into pharmaceutical companies, nutraceutical companies, and others. The pharmaceutical companies segment accounted for the maximum share of the market in 2022. The segment's dominance is attributed to pharmaceutical companies increasing the production of softgel capsules considerably in the past few years. In August 2020, Catalent, Inc. announced the launch of two softgel solutions, out of which one was vegetarian. Such significant launches due to strong R&D initiatives and production capacity of pharmaceutical companies are favoring the segmental growth.
The nutraceutical companies segment held a considerable softgel capsules market share in 2022 and is projected to record 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, 2022 (USD Billion)
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North America was valued at USD 2.37 billion in 2022 in the global market. The increased preference of key companies for introducing novel products in the developed countries of North America is a crucial factor driving the market growth in the region. These key firms are trying to get approvals from the U.S. FDA and other regulatory bodies to increase their customer base in other regions.
The Asia Pacific market is estimated to record 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 companies in the developed economies of the region will further strengthen its growth rate during the forecast timeframe.
The Europe market registered considerable revenue in 2022. This is due to high investment in the research and development of gelatin-based capsules and launch of innovative products in numerous European countries. In April 2023, International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) launched a pectin-based technology to further expand its vegan softgel offering. The introduction of VERDIGEL SC will enable manufacturers of vegan softgels to offer carrageenan-free products.
The Middle East & Africa and Latin America markets possess high growth potential and are anticipated to offer lucrative growth opportunities to softgel capsule manufacturers. The rising prevalence of chronic ailments, such as CVD and growing awareness among the population about the intake of several health and dietary supplements are a few factors likely to contribute to the market’s expansion in these regions.
Key Players to Focus on Strengthening Market Positions Through Pipeline and Top Selling Products
The global market is nearly consolidated, with three companies leading the market growth. 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 many potential pipeline candidates are primary factors helping Capsugel (Lonza) and Catalent, Inc. dominate the market.
Moreover, technological advancements in manufacturing softgels are another major factor supporting the companies’ growth. For instance, in October 2020, Catalent, Inc. launched a new technology called OptiGel DR to formulate and manufacture 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 market report elaborates on numerous factors. Information on trends, drivers, opportunities, threats, and restraints can help stakeholders gain insights into the market. The report also provides detailed insights on the market’s competitive landscape by presenting information on key players, along with their strategies.
CAGR of 5.8% from 2023-2030
Value (USD billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the value of the global market was USD 6.72 billion in 2022.
The market is projected to reach USD 10.49 billion by 2030.
The value of the market in North America was USD 2.37 billion in 2022.
The market is projected to record a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period of 2023-2030.
Based on type, 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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