Glycerin, which is also called glycerol, is a polyhydric alcohol that is mainly found in animal oil and vegetable oil. Glycerin can be derived either from petroleum feedstock or from natural resources and is also generated as a byproduct during the manufacturing of soap and diesel. Glycerin is primarily used as a humectant in personal care or for moisture retention. It is also employed in industrial chemical manufacturing and medical formulations.
The global glycerin market is primarily segmented on the basis of Application (food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, personal care, alkyd resins, polyether polyols, industrial chemicals, tobacco), Source (soap, biodiesel, fatty alcohol, fatty acid, others), and Grade (refined glycerin, crude glycerin). Among these segments, refined glycerin has witnessed the most demand in the global glycerin market. The biodiesel segment accounts for approximately 60.7% of the market share and is expected to show further growth, followed by the personal care segment, which accounts for 30.4 % of the global market share.
Geographically, the global market for glycerin is segmented into five regions of Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East & Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The APAC accounts for a significant value share of the global glycerin market and will continue to exhibit the highest growth rate in the coming years, followed by Europe and North America. In addition to this, the increase in consumer spending on premium and mass personal care application products coupled with rising population levels in countries such as China, India, South Korea, and Japan has also increased the consumption and demand for glycerin. The growing tourism sectors in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand have caused a rise in sales of cosmetics, which in turn has driven the demand for glycerin in personal care application.
Some of the leading companies dominating the global glycerin market are Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad, Croda International Plc, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Kao Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Godrej Industries, Dow Chemical Company, Sakamoto Yakuhin, and Emery Oleochemicals. The past five years have witnessed an increasing number of consolidations in the production industry. This is primarily due to the efforts among leading players to meet the growing demand for glycerin, and also for gaining access to the high-growth markets of Asia Pacific and strengthening presence in growing markets of North America and Europe. Glycerin manufacturers are also focussing on developing cost-effective manufacturing methods for refining crude glycerin to produce refined grades for such as United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
The demand for glycerin has been driven by the increased production of biodiesel and the growth in the pharmaceutical sector:
Pharmaceuticals have dominated the glycerin market in 2018 and are expected to hold a significant market share in the coming years. Glycerin is a crucial raw material for the manufacturing of end-user products such as eye-drops, creams, lozenges, syrups, and jellies, etc., due to its moisturizing, sweetening, and smoothening properties. In addition to this, the increase in medication spending and the rising use of expensive medicinal products owing to increasing health concerns have further accentuated the consumption of pharmaceuticals, thus driving glycerin demand.
Increased Demand and Production of Biodiesel:
Glycerin is also a by-product that is produced during the manufacture of biodiesel from vegetable oil and animal fats. The consumption of biodiesel has increased due to the rising demand for alternative fuel vehicles among consumers based in North America and the European Union. According to ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturer Association), approximately 852,933 vehicles with alternative fuels were registered in the EU in 2017, and this figure is anticipated to increase the demand for biodiesel in the coming years. The increasing concerns related to climate change coupled with the increased demand for biofuel, improving market stability, and shifting prices of crude oil would increase the demand for biodiesel. This, in turn, is expected to increase the production of glycerin in the coming years.
The global market for glycerin is expected to show relatively moderate growth in the next few years. While the Asia-Pacific region is expected to lead the entire market due to its increasing usage in pharmaceutical applications and personal care, other emerging markets are expected to follow suit. Amongst all the end-user segments, pharmaceuticals will be the largest market segment.