The global Low VOC Adhesives Market size was valued at USD 51.96 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 87.71 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.99% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The market growth in response to the increasing demand for low-VOC adhesives has been accompanied by a notable shift away from petroleum-based formulations.
Volatile Organic Compound, or VOC, is an essential component used to manufacture adhesives and sealants, rendering them fluid and pliable. Low VOC adhesives are natural organic compounds safe for humans, aquatic life, and the environment. VOCs are essential substances for the production of adhesives. Low-VOC adhesives are manufactured using chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and natural polymers (pectin, gelatin, and sodium alginate).
Low-VOC polymers are environmentally benign, emitting no harmful chemicals, and can meet stringent government standards while maintaining high performance. Due to its high strength and adhesion, it is utilized in numerous industries, including packaging, furniture, construction, textile, and automotive, for bonding metals, plastic, wood assembly, cardboard, paper, and lightweight materials.
|Market Size||USD 87.71 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||Asia pacific|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
Due to growing awareness among consumers of clean air quality and stringent government regulations in various regions, adhesive manufacturers were forced to produce products with low VOC content. Presently, manufacturers are shifting their focus to water-based adhesives and hot melt adhesives due to the low or zero content of VOCs, thus making these adhesives eco-friendly and easy to apply.
Generally, water-borne adhesives contain 80% water with small quantities of other solvents, like glycol ethers. These adhesives are environment-friendly as the US and European regulations require water-borne adhesives to have a VOC content of fewer than 3.5 pounds per gallon of water. Therefore, to meet the growing demand for low VOC adhesives, there has also been a significant movement away from petroleum-based formulations, driving market growth.
Currently, there is a growing need for lightweight automobiles. The automotive industry no longer uses mechanical fasteners such as screws, nuts, bolts, rivets, and wielding to attach components to vehicles. Rather, automotive manufacturers use low VOC adhesives such as epoxy and acrylic adhesives that can bond even dissimilar materials such as low-density alloys such as aluminum and magnesium and ultrahigh-strength steels.
In addition, low VOC adhesives reduce vehicle weight, distribute stress across the bonded joints, provide resistance to corrosion and harsh temperatures, and—most importantly—protect the health of workers, drivers, and passengers as they do not release harmful chemicals. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are also increasing the use of composite materials to produce lightweight vehicles. Composite materials are composed of high-performance fiber such as carbon and glass in a matrix material (epoxy polymer), which—when combined—offers enhanced properties of light materials. All these factors drive market growth.
The increasing interest in low VOC adhesive materials has presented several challenges in attaining optimal performance. Achieving the high performance of low VOC adhesive products requires using some that are quite expensive. The soaring price of raw materials is a constant nuisance for low-VOC adhesives manufacturers. As a result of the price rise, the market gradually gets affected.
Additionally, various aspects, such as supply and demand dynamics, significantly influence oil price changes. For instance, crude oil prices saw a dip that simultaneously dropped the oil demand because of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. Therefore, increasing prices of raw materials hinders market growth.
The paper and packaging industry is among the major consumers of low-VOC adhesives. Due to the absence of organic, Water-borne, and hot melt adhesives, they are mainly preferred for corrugated packaging, flexible packaging, and case and cartons. Factors such as increasing purchasing power, increasing pace of urbanization, the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry, and expanding population are driving the growth of the packaging industry. This growth has created a demand for safe and efficient protective packaging in various end-user segments such as food and beverage, pet food, healthcare, etc.
Additionally, blister plastic films, aluminum foils, and pouches are the major products used in the healthcare industry. The pharmaceutical industry is growing annually at over 4.4% and is expected to reach USD 1.5 trillion by 2026. The pharmaceutical packaging market in the US is a major revenue contributor due to the presence of significant pharmaceutical players. Thus, it offers significant opportunities for the low VOC adhesives vendors to expand their footprint, especially in North America for the healthcare industry.
Based on region, the global low VOC adhesive market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global low VOC adhesive market shareholder and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.24% during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the quickest-growing market for low-VOC adhesives during the forecast period. This region is the most alluring market for low-VOC producers due to the availability of low-cost labor and higher domestic demand. Therefore, market participants concentrate on this region to increase their market share and profitability. In addition, expansions and investments, acquisitions, agreements, and introduction of new products are key players' main strategies in the low VOC adhesive market to strengthen their positions. In Asia-Pacific, South Korea, Japan, China, and India are the main developing nations. Rising disposable income, strong economic growth, growing construction activities, and the presence of a strong automotive industry have primarily supported market growth in the region.
Europe is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 5.89% over the forecast period. Recent advancements in the automotive sector in developing lightweight and efficient vehicles, accompanied by the stringent EU regulation related to VOC emissions, have resulted in the growth of low VOC adhesive. Hence, solvent-borne adhesives are replaced by water-borne adhesives in Europe. The European Commission and federal government agencies have set the new rules for the Eco-product certification scheme, which was delivered and managed by the Green Council. These rules and regulations will ensure a green and sustainable environment with minimal or zero low VOC emissions. Looking at the geographic distribution of low VOC adhesive demand growth, the established markets of Germany, the UK, Italy, France, and Spain still account for more than 60% of the total European market size.
In North America, stringent regulations for using toxic chemical formulations in chemically curing adhesives increase the demand for low-VOC adhesives. The low VOC adhesives market benefits from the continuous growth of the construction, automotive, and packaging industries. The demand for low VOC adhesives used in building and construction applications has increased as the need for non-residential development and consumer expenditure on home furnishings have increased. In addition, construction spending will likely be a primary market growth driver over the forecast period. In the first half of 2019, private office construction in the US accounted for more than USD 8 billion. Commercial building floor area is predicted to reach 126.12 billion square feet by 2050, a 39% increase from 2017. The recovery of the construction industry in North America after the economic slowdown is also enhancing opportunities for low-VOC adhesives.
Latin America is a developing market with rapidly flourishing economies such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico. Due to low labor costs and readily available infrastructure, Mexico has recently become a manufacturing hotspot. Several US manufacturers have relocated from China to Mexico due to the political instability between the two nations and lower shipping costs from Mexico to the US. The automotive and construction sectors are fueling the growth of low-VOC adhesives in the region. Furthermore, various environmental concerns regarding harmful chemicals in adhesives and low VOC adhesives will find a significant share in the market during the projection period.
The Middle East and African market is driven by Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Egypt, South Africa, and Bahrain. The region's major consumers of low VOC adhesives include building and construction, automotive and aerospace, consumer durables, and packaging. The rising adoption of bio-based adhesives, new technologies, and the electric car market is another lucrative factor fostering the demand for low-VOC adhesives in the region. Demand for new buildings and construction projects will likely expand throughout the forecast period. The African market exhibits a comparatively lower level of activity, counterbalancing the Middle East's notable pace of growth. The construction industry will boost the Middle East's water-based low VOC adhesives market.
The global low VOC adhesive market is bifurcated into technology, resin, and end-user.
Based on technology, the global low VOC adhesive market is bifurcated into hot melt, water-based, reactive adhesive, and pressure-sensitive adhesive.
The water-based segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.31% over the forecast period. Water-borne adhesives are the most popular and preferred choice among industrialists due to the absence of organic VOCs, are lightweight, and require a low product for forming bonds. Moreover, with water-based adhesives, the matted parts or equipment can be easily cleaned in case of excessive glue. In addition to being environmentally benign, water-borne glue is also user-friendly since, unlike solvent-borne adhesive, it does not endanger aquatic or human life by emitting toxic or poisonous fumes during formation, negating the need for safety precautions or strict regulations. Therefore, most industrial manufacturers prefer using water-based adhesives because they are non-toxic, safe to use, non-flammable, and can be diluted and cleaned when spilled.
Hot melt adhesives, or glue sticks, are thermoplastic adhesives offered in a solid state and available in low and high temperatures. Hot melt adhesives have long been in the market and are still the most preferred adhesive primarily due to the low processing cost, fast drying and curing, and produce less VOC than solvent-based. These adhesives are widely used across various industries for manufacturing furniture, packaging, and hygiene products and in automotive, electronics, medical, bookbinding, and construction applications.
Based on resin, the global low VOC adhesive market is segmented into polyvinyl acetate, acrylic, polyurethane, ethylene-vinyl acetate, epoxy, styrene block copolymer, and others.
The polyvinyl acetate segment owns the largest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.82% over the forecast period. PVA or Polyvinyl acetate is also known as white glue. It is a colorless, non-toxic thermoplastic that belongs to the polyvinyl ester family. PVA experiences a high preference for bookbinding owing to its non-acidic property. Bookbinding low VOC adhesive is used in periodicals, catalogs, hard copy albums, seamless binding for magazines, and more. In addition, the development of a low VOC adhesive for bookbinding has greatly reduced the cost of producing books and allowed the world to become flooded with books. It can be used as back, side, and other adhesion. The techniques and technology of bookbinding are still used today to compile information in a volume.
The market for acrylic adhesives, the second largest for low VOC adhesives, is projected to expand faster than any other type of adhesive soon. Acrylic resins are primarily based on acrylate and methacrylate monomers, which provide good weather resistance, retain color and gloss, have excellent durability, and are resistant to water and UV rays. It is also easy to apply, stable under extremely cold temperatures, and cost-effective compared to other materials. Acrylic adhesives are suitable for bonding substrates such as plastics, glass, or wood to metal, along with all polymeric materials.
Based on end-users, the global low VOC adhesive market is bifurcated into paper and packaging, building and construction, furniture, automotive and transportation, leather and footwear, consumer and DIY, medical devices, and others.
The paper and packaging segment dominates the global market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.07% over the forecast period. Adhesives have played a major role in the paper and packaging industry. They bond to every small product used daily, ranging from laminating packaging to cardboard containers, beverage cans, sags, and frozen food. Water-based, hot melt, and solvent-based adhesives are the three major adhesives used in the paper and packaging industry. Hot melt and water-based adhesives are becoming a prominent choice in the packaging industry over solvent-based adhesives driven by sustainability and reduced environmental impact.
Various water-based and hot melt adhesives are used for manufacturing footwear or leather. The adhesives provide not only excellent durability but also a faster pace of production. Generally, sports shoes, dress shoes, and sandals require adhesives in the assembly process. Production of sports shoes requires adhesives extensively since it often involves many complex components that are difficult to bond, and superior workability and high productivity are needed. Characteristics such as dampness relieving, warm coefficient of extension, and protection from various other factors have led to using adhesives in the footwear and leather industry.