Adhesives: A volatile market poised to show growth again

The European adhesives and sealants market declined by 5 % in volume and value in 2020 due to Covid-19. However, it is forecast to grow to EUR 22.2 billion by 2026. Sustainability and circular economy objectives continue to drive demand.

How is the situation at the market for adhesives and sealants? Image source: herraez -

The adhesives and sealants market in 2021 was very volatile, with costs and availability of logistics greatly impacting the market. The Covid-19 pandemic, the Suez Canal blockage and significant issues in raw material supply are core reasons for this situation. As a result, the European adhesives and sealants market, which was 4.7 million tonnes with a value of EUR 15.5 billion in 2020, declined by 5 % in volume and value that year. It is forecast, however, to grow to EUR 22.2 billion by 2026, predominantly as a result of a few areas that will influence it post-Covid. Namely, sustainability/circular economy objectives, such as the renewable energy sector, have steadily become one of the most important drivers of increasing adhesives and sealants demand. Assembly operations are also predicted to have the strongest A&S demand growth because of the automation/digitalisation trend in operational processes. 

FEICA, the Association of the European Adhesives and Sealants industry, launched its seventh edition of the European Adhesives and Sealants Market Report in November 2021. The market knowledge, obtained by direct interviews from the adhesives and sealants industry (formulators, raw material producers and equipment suppliers), is analysed by Smithers and published by FEICA. In September 2019, a sixth edition of the report was published, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a seventh edition that also covers its impact on the EU market, was commissioned in 2021. For the first time, FEICA offers Regional Reports, which are intended for companies that focus on regional markets only. The market size is defined for the year 2020 and a demand forecast for the period 2021-2026 is also provided.

What’s driving Adhesives and sealants demand?

In transportation, there are good adhesives and sealants demand growth prospects with increasing demand for lightweight and low-carbon-emitting vehicles. In the building/construction/civil engineering/craftsmen market segment, there is growing demand for (more) eco-responsible materials, thanks to an increasing focus in building/construction on energy efficiency, retention, and sustainable energy generation.

2020 saw a surge in e-commerce and higher demand for packaging, and in terms of paper, board and related products, issues of sustainability continue to have a major influence on adhesives and sealants  demand. Current trends concern reducing packaging waste and encouraging the reuse of packaging, as well as light weighting and recycling of packaging.

European adhesives and sealants consumer/DIY demand is forecast to grow by around 3 % in volume and value in the next five years as consumers mostly stayed home during lockdown periods. The EU Green Deal advocates the ‘Right to Repair’, which aims to improve, among other sustainability aspects, repairability of all products on the European market, and to counter premature obsolescence. These sustainability factors are prime drivers of the adhesives and sealants industry over the period 2021-2026.

The EU Green Deal

Under the EU Green Deal, the European Commission adopted a set of proposals to launch Europe on the path of transformation to a climate-neutral, fair, and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy. This will have a significant impact on the European adhesives and sealants market. The Green Deal consists of many targets and initiatives for a sustainable, low-carbon, biodiverse and circular European economy. Fossil-based raw materials will therefore continue to decrease, and there will be a continued, strong demand for safe, recyclable and sustainable A&S products, where price and quality remain key. The general trend of the industry is also expected to contribute to a more efficient production process with a lower CO2 footprint.

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