Industrial alcohol market is poised to witness an upward growth trajectory during the forecast period 2021-2027. This growth is attributable to the growing product demand across key industry verticals owing to its antimicrobial activity, solubility, flammability, volatility. They are also used as flavoring agents and antifreeze agents in numerous industries.
Industrial alcohols commonly find application in fuels, pharmaceuticals, chemical solvents and intermediates, personal care products, in the food sector, and other areas. The expansion of these end-use industries and the subsequent rise in the product demand will positively impact industrial alcohol market forecast.
The market for isopropyl alcohol is slated to grow substantially through 2027. The substance is mixed with water and widely used as a rubbing-alcohol antiseptic. It also finds use in hand lotions, aftershave lotions, hand sanitizers, and other types of cosmetic and personal care products. The coronavirus pandemic has augmented the isopropyl alcohol demand, production, and consumption worldwide.
Hand sanitizers had witnessed a massive demand surge when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) and ethyl alcohol (ethanol) are the only two alcohols that are permitted as active ingredients in alcohol-based sanitizers. The CDC had also recommended isopropyl alcohol with 70-90% concentration for regular sterilization, intermediate disinfection, and low-level disinfection of commonly touched smooth, hard surfaces.
The pharmaceutical sector is slated to capture a fair share of the industrial alcohol market by 2027. In the pharmaceutical industry, ethanol, methanol, and other alcohols are prominently used for hygiene, sanitation, medical wipes, and other applications. The spread of the coronavirus outbreak has led to an increased demand for industrial alcohols to be used for sanitization, disinfection, and sterilization purposes to control the spread of the virus. The increased focus over safety and hygiene even after the COVID-19 pandemic will boost the product consumption across the pharmaceutical sector.
Europe will be a profitable market for industrial alcohol in the forthcoming years. The regional demand can be closely tied to developments across personal care, pharmaceutical, transportation, and food & beverage industries. Industrial alcohols are commonly used in preparing transportation fuel. Europe being a leading automotive producer is witnessing a notable substance demand. The growing need for biofuels and the demand for low-cost feedstock in the chemical sector will bolster the regional industrial alcohol market outlook.
Cargill, Green Plains, Flint Hills Resources, MGP Ingredients, Grain Processing Corporation, Greenfield Specialty Alcohols, Cristalco, and Raizen Energia are among the leading suppliers of industrial alcohol worldwide. To meet the burgeoning market demand, manufacturers are expanding their production capacities. In March 2021, for example, Grain Processing Corporation had set up a new, high-tech, and efficient distillery capable of meeting the increasing ethanol demand for producing essential products including hand sanitizers, disinfectants, cough and cold medicines, mouthwash, as well as COVID-19 testing reagents, vaccine components, and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Opportunities and challenges amid the global COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has made health, safety, and hygiene a major priority among consumers and organizations. Public health organizations such as the U.S. FDA, CDC, and WHO have recommended the regular use of sanitizers and disinfectants with at least 60% alcohol content. An exponential surge in the demand for hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and sterilization products for use in homes, healthcare facilities, and public places has benefitted industrial alcohol manufacturers.
The massive demand surge had led to hand sanitizer shortage in numerous countries, especially during the first few months of the pandemic. The shortage had been mainly caused by panic buying among consumers with the news of the coronavirus spreading rapidly. As a result, major alcohol manufacturers were seen ramping up production capacity to meet the unprecedented demand for sanitizers in the face of COVID-19.
All in all, despite supply chain uncertainties and other challenges, the industrial alcohol market has experienced steady growth during the pandemic year and will witness promising opportunities over 2021-2027.