Market Overview: Strong growth rates in the construction industry, specifically the residential housing market, along with worldwide legislation on solvent emissions will continue driving global demand for construction sealants. In the United States, demand is expected to grow at a rate of 2.8% yearly and by 2019 equate to a $12.8 billion dollar industry.
Demand for sealants is expected to outpace that for adhesives in the near term, enhancing both OEM production levels and associated supply opportunities.
Sealant use in construction continues to steadily increase due to its importance in forming ever critical air/water barriers. The barriers not only are energy efficient, but also serve to improve occupants’ health by blocking out pests and pollution. As public interest in green building grows, so does the use of sealants.
More than 75 percent of sealants used in all construction are silicone based partially because of its inherent low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and subsequent qualification for LEED credits from the U.S. Green Building Council toward certification of a structure as a green entity.
Water based sealants are dominating the market with the concern over toxins from solvents. Additionally, manufacturers are moving to develop renewable alternatives for the petrochemical base of sealants. Vegetable oils are one base currently in use.
Within the sealant market, raw materials continue to be the single largest cost factor representing some 53 to 63 percent of costs of goods sold. However, manufacturers are seeing increased profit margins thanks to the declines in oil and gas prices.
Large multinational companies—both domestic and foreign—dominate the market with Henkel, 3M, H.B. Fuller and Dow together having nearly 50 percent market share. Mergers and acquisitions in the sealant and chemical industries continue at a rapid pace. This can lead to some disruption in production as supplier product lists are consolidated and OEM manufacturers have to reformulate.
Transnational corporations also tailor compositions to local market conditions, reflecting regulations on content. Restrictions on the use of toxic substances vary greatly between states, countries and content.
Many smaller companies have been purchased by private equity firms, and third-party manufacturers in Europe and Asia are supplying brand-name sealants companies in North America.