Ink solvent market size is forecast to reach $920 million by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 4.9% during 2020-2025, owing to the increasing demand for ink solvents such as hydrocarbons and alcohols from the flexible packaging and paper publishing industries to manufacture inks. Ink solvents are specifically formulated chemicals that are used to control viscosity, permit flow, and achieve the desired printing output without damaging printing rollers. The properties such as solvency, good flow, solvent stability, dilutability, remarkable gloss, and good surface appearance, and ink performance will be the key influencing factors for the growth of the ink solvents market. Globally rising demand for printing ink from the packaging industry is expected to remain a key growth driver for the ink solvent market during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific dominates the ink solvent market, owing to the increasing demand for ink solvents such as methylated spirits, ethyl acetate, isopropanol, and n-propyl acetate from the packaging industry in the region for labeling and invoice of products.
Growing demand for printing inks from the packaging industry, high consumption of food and beverages, and electronics in the developing regions contribute to the growth of flexible packaging and ink solvents.
Additionally, the governments in the developing countries are adopting stringent regulations and policies to regulate the content of the inks. For instance, Zanasi introduced 511 BIO, the new biodegradable ink. This solvent was developed with 100% vegetal derived solvents, and it does not contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and was approved by EPA.
The steady rise of digital media has shrunk the print media market by which many players have shifted at least half of their marketing spending from traditional to digital advertising over the last few years, which is limiting the ink solvent market growth.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the countries have gone under lockdown, due to which operations of various industries such as packaging has been negatively affected, which is limiting the ink solvent market growth.
Ink Solvent Market Segment Analysis – By Product Type
The bio-based ink solvent segment held the largest share in the ink solvent market in 2019. The bio-based solvents industry has faced an exponential increase in demand and a push towards the development of innovative green solutions, driven by government regulations and concerns regarding environmental preservation and depletion of natural resources. A bio-based solvent such as bio-acetone and bio-ethanol is an effective and low-cost alternative to conventional solvents. Even though most bio-solvents are still volatile like their petroleum counterparts, the bio-solvents have the advantage of being biodegradable, derived from renewable resources, and their production often results in CO2 emission savings, which is the major factor contributing to the growth of the bio-based ink solvent market during the forecast period.
Ink Solvent Market Segment Analysis – By Process
The flexographic process segment held the largest share in the ink solvent market in 2019 as flexographic printing is widely used for printing plastics, metallic films, cellophane, and other smooth substrates that are required in various types of packaging. It is also well suited for wide format printing and high-quality printing format. The adoption of flexographic printing is increasing in food packaging applications. Flexographic printing offers a variety of ink types, many of which require little or no drying time and it enables printing on a wide variety of both porous and non-porous surfaces. Significant growth in advertising media and textile printing applications is projected to create opportunities for players operating in the flexography process. Furthermore, the high demand for ink solvent solutions in the flexographic printing inks market is anticipated to drive the ink solvents market substantially during the forecast period.
Ink Solvent Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The packaging application held the largest share in the ink solvent market in 2019 and is growing at a CAGR of 4.1%, owing to the increasing demand for ink solvents from the packaging industries to print on the packaging materials. Printing inks on packaging materials are used for consumer information as well as for marketing purposes. Inks are used with many different packaging materials such as plastics, paper, board, and cork may be directly printed on. The growing demand for flexible packaging influences the growing demand for ink solvents as it is used in the formulation of printing inks that aid the proper ink flow into the substrate. Factors such as high demand for convenient packaging in consumer goods, easy customization, cost-effective, and the lightweight property is anticipated to propel the flexible packaging inks solvents market during the forecast period.
Ink Solvent Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia Pacific region held the largest share in the ink solvent market in 2019 up to 40%, owing to the increasing demand for proper labeling in packages and increasing the packaging industry in the APAC region. The Indian packaging industry was one of the fastest-growing industries in 2016 and stands at $700 billion worldwide, according to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). In India, it grew at a CAGR of 16% in the last five years and touched approximately $32 Billion in 2015. According to China’s Food Labeling Standards (GB7718-2011), imported foods, in addition to the name and address of the general distributor registered in the country, must have clear markings indicating the country of origin. According to the 2015 Food Safety Law in China, pre-packaged food must be labeled and must include the following information such as name, specification, net content, and date of production; table of ingredients or formulation; producer name, address, and contact information; shelf life, and more. With the increasing packaging and labeling market in the Asia Pacific the demand for ink, printing will also increase, which will propel the ink solvent market in the APAC region during the forecast period.
Ink Solvent Market Drivers
Increasing demand for Bio-Based Ink Solvents
Most bio-based ink solvents are made from sugar, corn, or beet. They are chosen primarily for the reason that they possess the ability to replace oil-based ink solvents and are as safe and as effective as the traditional options. Moreover, green ink solvents do not release toxic byproducts and volatile organic compounds (VOC) during manufacturing. Owing to their high boiling point, low toxicity, and low miscibility, many green ink solvents have become popular in recent years. These ink solvents are mainly used for printing inks, labeling packages of personal care products, cosmetics, sealants, and pharmaceuticals. And since these industries are flourishing sustainable solvents suppliers see the demand for bio-based solvents growing fast. According to Wageningen Food & Bio-based Research, various green ink solvents can be used instead of the controversial polar aprotic ink solvents including NMP, DMF, and DMAc. Thus, the rising demand for bio-based ink solvent will boost the ink solvent market, which acts as a river for the market.
Increasing E-Commerce Platform
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation, was $160.3 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent (±1.1%) from the fourth quarter of 2019. According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), Malaysia is an attractive market for e-commerce in Southeast Asia due to its dynamic economy and developed infrastructure for digital technologies. Malaysia’s e-Commerce sector is benefiting from the implementation of programs under the National e-Commerce Strategic Roadmap’s (NeSR). According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), Japan is the third largest and the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world. Japan represents a significant market opportunity, with Internet penetration estimated at 93.3 percent of the population. The E-GDP was predicted to increase 1.59 percent in 2017, with 74 percent of the online population shopping online, according to the Japan 2017 report of the Ecommerce Foundation. The demand for online shopping is increasing in the emerging countries and labels, plastic bags, and invoices are used for packaging, which eventually needs printing inks for labeling of deliverable packages. Thus, the increase of the e-commerce platform acts as a driver for the ink solvent market.
Ink Solvent Market Challenges
Volatility in Crude Oil Prices
The raw materials often used for the production of ink solvents are the downstream products of crude oil such as aromatic, ketones, esters, and alcohols. So, the price fluctuation of crude oils also hinders the price of ink solvent raw materials. According to, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, In the recent year there is been an increase in the price volatility of crude oil, such as the cost of crude oil fell from $98.95 in 2014 to $52.39 in 2015 and rose from $43.73 in 2016 to $71.31 in 2018. And because of this uncertainty in crude oil prices, the price of ink solvent also increases. Thus, the volatility in crude oil prices is expected to be a significant challenge for the ink solvent market manufacturers, which will hinder the ink solvent market growth during the forecast period.
Covid-19 Impact on The Ink Solvent Market
Due to the covid-19 outbreak, many countries are under shut down owing to which the market is witnessing a period of low demand from its end-use industries. After frequent panic buying in many places in mid-March, food and daily necessities are now being stockpiled again owing to which the demand for packaging is on a downfall. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting operations of various industries including food and beverages, as most of the countries have issued “stay at home guidance” i.e., lockdown. As ink solvent is extensively used in these industries for labeling, the declining operation of these industries globally is directly limiting the ink solvent market growth during the pandemic.
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the ink solvent market. Major players in the ink solvent market are BASF SE, Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company, Arkema S.A., Ashland Inc., Celanese Corporation, Evonik Industries AG, Ineos AG, Omnova Solutions, Royal Dutch Shell, Solvay AG, and Vertec Biosolvents Inc.