According to a report by market research firm Grand View Research (GVR), the global market is expected to reach $1.2 billion USD by 2022. Published in March of this year, the researchers behind Metallic Pigments Market Analysis By Product (Aluminum, Zinc, Copper, Stainless Steel), By Application (Paints & Coatings, Plastics, Printing Inks, Cosmetics) and Segment Forecasts To 2022 found that technological advancements have introduced high luster and sparkling effects with increased durability for automotive OEM processing and paint refinishes.
“These odorless pigments are also widely utilized in other expanding end-use industries such as packaging, cosmetics and printing inks, particularly in emerging economies of China and India,” the report states. “Increasing consumer awareness regarding sustainability and environmental friendly nature of these pigments has also benefited the overall market.”
The leading segment of metallic pigments is aluminum, by a large margin. GVR found that aluminum accounted for more than one-third of the total market volume in 2014, and predicts that copper pigments will be the fastest growing segment in the future.
“These pigments are rapidly gaining popularity on account of their ability to impart a unique gold-bronze effect to various substrates,” the report notes.
The leading application segment, researchers found, is paints and coatings, which accounted for 44.2% of total market volume in 2014. The metallic pigments market, like so many others, is seeing growth in emerging markets such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The growing middle classes in these regions are responsible for increased demand in fashion, cosmetics, electronics and other luxury items in which metallics are often utilized. Additionally, the Asia-Pacific region has seen a significant increase in construction spending, thereby driving up the market for pigments as a whole.
Additionally, researchers found, “increasing focus on beauty and appearance - coupled with rising preference for unique color effects and brilliant finishes - led to the fastest growth in the cosmetics sector. The segment is expected to grow at an exponential CAGR of 6.9% to occupy over 10% volume share by 2022.” Gold and bronze color-effects are increasingly popular in the cosmetics market, and as such, copper and zinc have seen high demand. The copper segment is anticipated to emerge as the fastest growing product at a CAGR of 5.7% over the forecast period.
As the popularity of metallics continues to grow across all relevant sectors, suppliers anticipate continued growth.
According to Scott Schultz, end-use manager, graphic arts at ECKART America, the market for metallics remains good, with the core markets staying steady.
“Some of the new specialty products are adding to the growth,” he said. “The shift toward more environmentally friendly products is growing and opens the door for a broader range of applications to use metallics.”
He added, “Consumer demands are continually changing, which requires a high amount of flexibility in what the industry manufactures. A high amount of focus is being placed on manufacturing robust, environmentally friendly products that can potentially offer cost savings. New opportunities for growth will organically develop in this trend.”
Growth in the metallic pigments market can be attributed to growth in flexible packaging, a preference for metallized substrates, and increased consumer product competition. Thomas Schaller, president of Schlenk Metallic Pigments North America, said that his company has seen a continuing trend “to use high-valued vacuum metallized and silver dollar aluminum pigments for foil and metallized substrate replacement effects in both solvent and UV inks and metallic pigments.
“The growth in energy curable ink use and technology innovations such as LED and low energy curing along with food packaging demands for low migration printing inks have driven the development of metallic inks to meet these challenges,” Schaller reported.
Other trends, according to Aaron Hollman, global director of Sun Chemical Performance Pigments, include increased consumer awareness of sustainability and social responsibility.
“Much like other pigment industries, the importance of global regulations continues to grow. For printing inks, new legislation is introduced regularly. Controls can differ greatly across the globe,” Hollman said. “These changes can influence regional pigment selection, binder chemistry and formulation flexibility. The challenge is keeping up with changing local regulations, designing products that meet new criteria and delivering performance.”
He added, “Consumers are putting much more emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility. Sun Chemical consistently measures as a leading supplier in this area. Our product developers are focused on delivering economically competitive goods and services that satisfy the needs of our customers and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impact and resource intensity. ”
Ron Levi, president and owner of New Brook International, said that major trends for metallic pigments also include their handling, storage and transportation due to new regulations from many sides.
“Fashion trends and marketing based on successful sports teams and the like lead to ‘spot business’ campaigns which may not have been forecast but are welcome,” Levi said. “On the ink side we have focused on growth in screen ink applications.”
Because metallic inks are more frequently being utilized in general, their use in high-definition printing has increased as well.
Rajive Jhaveri, president of Arpro M-Tec, said that within the last few years, the use of metallic inks in high-definition printing has increased in both paper and film substrate applications.
“It has become more common to see metallic inks being printed with 600 LPI anilox. Environmental impact is another driving force for change requiring formulations to have lower HAPs and VOC,” Jhaveri said. “As printers continue to print higher definition with metallic inks, a key trend that is emerging is the necessity for ink performance on press; printers are expecting better consistency and less down time.”