The global ball clay market size is expected to reach a valuation of USD 586 million by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Ball clays are kaolinitic sedimentary clays that typically contain 20%–80% kaolinite, 10%–25% mica, and 6%–65% quartz. The content of localized seams in the same deposit varies, including the proportion of primary minerals, accessory minerals, and carbonaceous elements like lignite. These are fine-grained and flexible by nature, and when burnt, unlike most earthenware clays, these produce a high-quality white-colored pottery body, which is the secret to their appeal among potters.
Due to the geological variables required for production and preservation, ball clays are relatively rare. These have been mined in portions of the eastern United States and three locations in Dorset and Devon, England. Apart from their white color, these are extensively utilized in building numerous ceramic items, where their principal duty is to provide flexibility or enhance rheological stability during shaping procedures.
Ball clay has a lot of organic impurities and is made up of 20-80 percent kaolinite, 10-25 percent mica, and 6-65% quartz. It's also known as plastic clay since it has finer particles. Unlike other clays, ball clay, usually dark brown to black, transforms to white or light in color when burned.
Compared to China clay, ball clay has better dry shrinkage, strength, and plasticity. Ball clay is a secondary clay that contains iron and titanium impurities and substantial amounts of silica. The ball clay can be processed into extremely fine powder. The clay's tiny particles provide exceptional plasticity and superior strength for product handling in the green stage.
When identical slip conditions (viscosity, fluidity, and density) are present, the ball clay casting rate is significantly lower than China clay. Ball clay is also utilized as a plasticizer, binder, and suspender in various applications due to its remarkable plasticity.
The ball clay has a stronger strength and workability because of the eventual finer particle size. Ball clay is used in various applications, both ceramic and non-ceramic. Ceramic applications include sanitaryware, wall and floor tiles, glazes and engobes, dinnerware, electrical porcelain insulators, and refractory clays. Over the forecast period, the market is likely to be driven by growing demand for ceramic applications and the better features of ball clay over other clays.
The Asia-Pacific region's sanitary ware market is being driven by the region's fast-growing population, particularly in developing economies, and the growing need to reduce open defecation and maintain a hygienic environment among the region's widely dispersed communities. The lack of well-maintained public/community toilets for the underserved communities living in urban or peri-urban areas of many developing nations in the region is a severe issue. To address it, many governments, including China and India, have launched numerous programs driving the market for sanitary ware and thus boosting the demand for ball clay.
China and India are the world's most populous countries. The increased emphasis on improving sanitation services throughout these countries, particularly in public and rural areas, is likely to drive demand for sanitary ware, therefore propelling the ball clay market growth during the forecast period.
For example, between 2015 and 2019, China started a "Toilet Revolution" to improve hygiene and sanitation in urban and rural areas of the world's second-largest economy. Up to 68,000 toilets were built or repaired. By the end of 2020, an extra 64,000 toilets were expected, according to preliminary figures. The toilet revolution in China is part of the country's objective to achieve a fully civilized bathroom culture by 2030.
During the forecast period, the market for ball clay is expected to be driven by rising demand for sanitary ware in densely populated countries such as China and India and government initiatives to promote sanitation.
Other floor covering materials, such as laminate, carpet, hardwood, floor tile, stone, and other tough floorings, can be used as substitutes for ball clay floor tile and vinyl sheet, laminates, and other forms of alternatives for ball clay tiles have lower prices as compared to ball clay tiles. Household utensils manufactured of bentonites and porcelains, rather than ball clays, have a cleaner, whiter appearance and are thus more widely used. As a result, the availability of lower-cost substitutes for ball clay and products with a cleaner appearance may hamper the ball clay market growth over the forecast period.
Compared to other countries throughout the world, Sub-Saharan African countries have some of the weakest, underdeveloped, and low-income economies. Basic infrastructure, sanitation, and drinking water facilities are all lacking. According to the World Bank, a quarter of the region's population defecates in open areas. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals program, which ended in 2015, had made only modest progress toward providing basic sanitation to half of the world's population.
According to World Health Organization figures, only 17% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and 41% of people in Northern Africa obtained access to sanitation during the MDG timeframe. The World Health Organization plans to eliminate open defecation and provide good sanitation to everyone by 2030, but achieving these goals will take a lot of effort and money. The majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Eastern and Southeast Asia, lack sufficient sanitation.
Due to a lack of basic sanitary infrastructure in Nigeria, 25% of the population still relies on outdoor defecation. Furthermore, more than half of all schools lack running water and basic sanitation access.
Uganda is also one of the poorest countries in the world. With the help of a German development agency, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit GmbH), Kampala, the capital city, plans to build 200 toilets by 2025. The improving economic condition in several African countries is expected to improve sanitation in the region. Ethiopia, for example, has invested in the construction of sanitary services in the country.
Also, the goal of the United Nations and the World Health Organization to provide immediate sanitation access to everyone by 2030, combined with growing support from several European organizations and individual non-governmental organizations (NGOs), is expected to create growth opportunities for the ball clay during the forecast period.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on the global ball clay market. More than 60% of unit sales were hampered due to disruptions in manufacturers' delivery capacities due to strict lockdown regulations and growing safety concerns. Also, disruption of residential and commercial construction operations across the globe due to a lack of employees on-site was a critical supportive factor that limited the ball clay market growth.
In the initial nine months of 2020, various governments worldwide implemented lockdown. As a result, many manufacturing factories and production facilities were shut down or halted. This had an adverse impact on the need for ball clay products from various applications. Likewise, in 2020, most countries, including India, Italy, France, Poland, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, went into lockdown, affecting output in numerous industries and, as a result, the market analysis.
The post-pandemic phase will be significant for the global ball clay market. The recovery can be hindered by supply chain disruptions, which will affect the market dynamics and the prices of the product. Also, distribution and transportation capabilities restrictions, unfavorable financial conditions, and ascended expenses will challenge the global market. Also, limited production, support operations, labor shortages, and constraints for other end-user sectors, suppliers, and vendors may fail to meet the consumer demand. Overall, the recovery will be challenging for the global ball clay market.
The global ball clay market share has been classified based on the application and regions.
The ball clay market has been segmented into ceramic and non-ceramic based on application. The ceramic application segment is expected to dominate the global market, and it is projected to reach USD 541 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period.
Ball clay works as a binding agent in a ceramic body. It contributes to plasticity, workability, and strength in the pre-fired condition, allowing the ceramic body to be safely formed and handled between shaping and firing. Ball clays are primarily appreciated for their fluid and casting qualities, critical for slip casting, particularly in the sanitaryware industry. Some are prized for their fluid and casting qualities, especially in the sanitaryware industry.
They are primarily employed in the production of ceramic whiteware and are prized for their fluidity, which makes them easy to form, and their unfired strength and pale color when fired. Sanitary ware, wall and floor tiles, and tableware are the most common varieties of ceramic whiteware that contain ball clay.
On the other hand, Ball clays are uncommon in the world due to the rare mix of geological variables required for their production and subsequent preservation. Ball clay's qualities and the benefits of using it in ceramics are increasing its market demand, particularly for ceramic applications.
The global ball clay market share has been segregated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
With a market value of USD 222 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 5%, Asia-Pacific is expected to be the largest ball clay market. China and India majorly drive the Asian market. Ball clay has a wide range of applications in the building industry, including sanitary ware, tableware, bricks, and a variety of other ceramic applications. As the construction sector of emerging economies grows, the Asia-Pacific ball clay market is expected to grow.
China accounts for about 7.0% of global agricultural acreage, feeding 22% of the world's population. The country is the world's top producer of rice, cotton, potatoes, and other products. As a result of the large-scale agricultural operations in the country, demand for fertilizers and pesticides is quickly growing, driving demand for ball clay in the fertilizers and pesticides market.
With an expected market value of USD 212 million by 2030, Europe is the second-largest global market of ball clay, registering a CAGR of 5%. Germany is the leading consumer of ceramic products in Europe. Ceramic products such as tiles, bricks, and sanitary ware are highly developed and progressed. Another factor supporting market growth is significant consumer spending on residential and housing construction. The main element driving the European ceramics market is the growing demand for new residential infrastructure.
Likewise, demand for adhesives and sealants is expected to increase by 1.80% per year to 947,000 metric tonnes in 2022 in Germany. This will allow German-based companies such as Henkel AG & Co. KGaA and Wacker Chemie AG to increase output while using ball clay as a filler. Thus, the demand for ball clay is likely to grow in the European Union over the forecast period.