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Global microspheres market is set to gain significant momentum, owing to the growing adoption of microsphere formulations to enhance the therapeutic efficiency of drugs and overcome challenges posed by conventional therapies. Apart from the use of microspheres in drug delivery, its robust potential to provide therapeutic proteins, oligonucleotides, and peptides via the oral route, among other medical applications will further augment the industry share in years ahead.
Microspheres are spherical microparticles and engineered materials, with sizes ranging from 1-1000 µm. Normally, they are dry free-flowing powders made with both synthetic and natural polymers. They offer unique properties for use in a variety of applications such as syringes and medical devices, precision optical instruments, bond-line spacers, and tracer particles, among others.
Mounting adoption of polymer microspheres is seen an effective means to solve issues during the development of low permeability oil reservoirs. This includes rapid water breakthrough and low efficiency of water flooding. Higher product applications in end-use industries including cosmetics and medicine, are among the factors making significant contributions to the microspheres market trends. Cosmetic microspheres are especially becoming popular in ani-aging formulations, given their ability to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines due to excellent sphericity, tight particle size, and enhanced sensory properties.
In terms of segmentation by application, the paints & coatings segment is poised to depict a high growth rate through 2027, considering the remarkable rise in product demand to manufacture efficient plastisols, coatings, and sealants. For instance, in 2020, Nouryon unveiled a new version of Expancel expandable microspheres for specialty thin coating applications, designed to work as a filler and blowing agent to reduce weight and bring additional benefits like improvements in the printability of thermal paper labels.
From a regional perspective, the Europe microspheres market will hold a considerable share over the forthcoming years. This is attributable to the escalating number of new projects in the construction sector driven by the growth of both public and private sectors and the high spending by regional governments to boost oil & gas exploration activities. In 2021, the UK government announced an investment of over USD 18.8 billion to help oil drillers explore the North Sea for new oil reserves and curb the carbon emission level by the end of the decade.
Prominent players in the global microspheres industry include Chase Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials, Luminex Corporation, Potters Industries, Sigmund Lindner, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals), and 3M Company, among others. These market participants are focusing on expanding their regional presence and business portfolio across the global market by employing varied strategies such as M&A and innovative product launches.
For instance, in September 2020, Palmer Holland announced plans to expand the distribution of the Advanced Materials of 3M, including ceramic microspheres, in Canada, with an aim to solidify the mutual dedication to rapidly grow their businesses. Also, Nouryon selected a location to establish a polymerization plant for its Expancel microspheres in the U.S. in March 2019, with an objective to strengthen its prominent position as a provider of expandable microspheres and help develop lightweight end-use products.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has posed drastic impacts across various industrial businesses in manifold ways, including the sales of various cosmetics and beauty products due to the closure of beauty-product outlets to contain the transmission of the virus. The implementation of lockdown and other restrictions has upended beauty routines as people are barred from visiting beauty stalls and salons, which created negative impacts on the sales of cosmetic products, indirectly impacting microsphere industry share from the cosmetics & personal care sector.
However, the physical distancing and mask-wearing realities have given a substantial rise in the demand for hygiene products including sanitizers since the start of the pandemic. This, coupled with the mounting adoption of amorphous microspherical silica gels as an excellent ingredient for skincare products, will add impetus to the microspheres market growth over the foreseeable future.