The global argon gas market size was valued at USD 357.75 million in 2021. It is predicted to reach an estimated value of USD 504.80 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 3.9% during the forecast period (2022-2030).
Argon gas is the third noble gas in period 8, which has 18 as its atomic number. This gas is odorless, colorless, and inert. It is isolated through fractional distillation of liquid air and exists in its natural form that is in the form of natural isotopes such as 40Ar, 36Ar, and 38Ar and makes up about 1% of the Earth's atmosphere.
Due to its inert reactivity, it is the most preferred gas for the metal industry, as it is used as inert gas for shielding metals from oxidation during welding along with being used for joining several nonferrous and ferrous alloys. Other uses of argon gas include non-reactive blanket while manufacturing titanium and other reactive elements, as a protective atmosphere for growing germanium crystals as well as silicon, and many others. It also has excellent thermal insulation properties, which makes it the most widely used gas for filling the dry suits that are used for scuba diving. It has a wide range of applications in imaging and lighting, food and beverages, electronics, chemicals, metal fabrication, and manufacturing sectors.
The characteristics and advantages of argon gas, such as its inert nature, low cost, non-toxic, non-flammability, colorlessness, and non-reactive nature, even under extreme temperature have helped it in replacing many other gases in the industry thus, increasing its demand in various sectors in the market.
Therefore, the global argon gas market is expected to grow and has a broad scope during the forecast period. However, the high transportation cost of argon gas has led to the exploration of other substitute materials, which may hamper the growth of this market.
Argon gas is formed by fractional distillation by extracting it from liquid air in a cryogenic air separation unit and exists as charged ion molecules. It is a noble gas and, therefore, is considered an essential gas due to its wide range of applications across various industries, which is helping in increasing the demand for this gas and driving the market growth.
Argon gas is majorly used in the metal fabrication sector for shielding metals from oxidation during welding, because of its properties like non-toxic, non-flammability, non-reactive under extreme temperature conditions, and many others, due to which the demand for this gas is increasing in this industry. Metal fabrication is a subsector of the manufacturing industry and hence is linked with many other industries such as pharmaceutical, food and beverages, automotive, aerospace, energy, construction, shipbuilding, etc.
Metal fabrication has boosted the use of this gas in the steel industry, which is continuously booming, in all sectors across the globe. The below figure shows the use of steel in different sectors in the year 2018 (%).
Use of Steel, In Different Sectors, 2018
Source: World Steel Association
It is used in welding with a mixture of 95% argon gas and 25% carbon dioxide or 98% argon gas and 2% carbon dioxide, depending on the steel type.
In addition to this, it is also used on a large scale in solar and insulated windows to increase the energy efficiency and general performance of these windows which is increasing its demand in this sector and is driving the market growth. Furthermore, it is used in excimer lasers along with fluorine and helium, which are used for the production of microelectronic devices. It is also used in incandescent lamps and phosphorescent tubes which are propelling its demand due to the increasing number of malls, shopping complexes, hotels, etc.
Moreover, argon gas finds its applications in a variety of other purposes as well such as in the manufacturing of titanium and other reactive elements as a non-reactive blanket, for growing silicon as well as germanium crystals as a protective atmosphere, for filling the dry suits that are used for scuba diving, and as a filler gas in fire extinguishers and airbag inflation which are the factors responsible for the growth of this market.
The growing working population in the developing economies has led to an increase in demand for various products and services along with an improved standard of living due to an increase in the disposable income of the population. This has further led to an increase in urbanization accounting for 4.2 billion urban population in the year 2018, a total of 55% of the world's population, which is projected to rise to 68% by 2050 as per the World Urbanization Prospects produced by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
Due to this increase in urbanization, there has also been a rise in the spending on infrastructural development, therefore increasing manufacturing activities along. Argon gas is extensively used for metal fabrication, and, therefore, this increase in manufacturing activities will enhance the growth of this market.
Based on region, the Argon Gas market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. Asia-Pacific is anticipated to hold the largest share during the forecast period owing to the growing industries like manufacturing due to low costs, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, automobile, electronics, and many others in this region, especially in India and China. The demand for argon gas in these end-use industries is continuously increasing because of its inert nature and low cost.
In addition to this, argon finds extensive application in metal fabrication and is, therefore, widely used in sectors like automobile, pharmaceutical, steel, etc. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian automotive industry, including component manufacturing is projected to reach USD 251.4-282.8 billion by 2026, while the pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow to USD 100 billion by 2025, along with the medical devices market to reach to USD 25 billion.
On the other hand, Asia-Pacific has also been the largest region to use steel because of the infrastructural development and construction activities in 2018, according to the data shared by the World Steel Association. The prime steel (crude) producing countries in this data included China with 928.3 mt, India with 106.5 mt, and Japan with 104.3 mt at rank 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
In addition to this, the major exporter of steel also included China and Japan with 68.8 mt and 35.8 mt of steel, allowing them to position themselves at 1st and 2nd position. The below figures show steel production and its usage in this region, which depicts the growth of the steel industry and demand for argon gas due to the steel industry's growth as it is extensively used in metal fabrication for shielding metals.
Crude Steel Production
World Total = 1808 million tons
Source: World Steel Association
Apparent Steel Use (Finished Steel Products)
World Total = 1712 million tons
Source: World Steel Association
Additionally, rapid industrialization, urbanization, technological advancements, and the growing developmental activities in this region are expected to boost the growth of the argon gas market in the Asia-Pacific.
The global argon gas market comprises of both big and small players. The major players have been adopting strategies such as investing with local players to further expand their geographical presence and develop technologically advanced equipment to stay in the market and increase their market share.
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