The global silica gel market size was valued at USD 550 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 756 million by 2031, registering a CAGR of 3.6% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
Silica gel is a form of absorbent substance made from silica dioxide. It is a granular form of silicon dioxide (silica), a naturally occurring mineral. Silica gel is a highly porous, large-surface-area substance that can absorb moisture, liquids, and gases. It is frequently used as a desiccant to keep things dry and moisture-free, extending their shelf life and preventing damage.
The key drivers projected to drive market revenue growth include rapid industrialization and increased use of silica gel in chromatography for biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical research activities. Because of its purity, eco-friendliness, and excellent efficacy, silica gel for column chromatography is in high demand. Furthermore, silica gel is an apparent first option as a general-purpose chromatography adsorbent due to its unrivaled aptitude for linear and nonlinear isothermal separations and its near entire inertness to labile chemicals. All of these reasons contribute to the increased silica gel market share.
Silica gel packets are extensively used in the food sector to absorb excess moisture and avoid spoiling. Packaged snacks, such as beef jerky or dried fruits, frequently contain silica gel packets to maintain crispness and prevent mold growth, so extending shelf life. Because of changing customer preferences and hectic lifestyles, the worldwide packaged food sector has been steadily growing. Food waste is a big concern, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with nearly one-third of all food produced globally going to waste. Extending shelf life using moisture control agents such as silica gel can reduce waste.
Furthermore, Silica gel is employed in pharmaceuticals to keep drugs stable and effective. Silica gel prevents degradation by managing moisture levels, ensuring that pharmaceuticals retain their potency for longer. The worldwide pharmaceutical market is expected to develop steadily, driven by factors such as aging populations and higher healthcare spending, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These factors are projected to fuel the growth of the silicon gel market.
Silica gel is non-biodegradable, which means it will not degrade naturally in the environment. Concerns have been raised concerning the impact of this feature on ecosystems and trash management. When incorrectly disposed of, silica gel can contribute to garbage accumulation in landfills, which can have long-term environmental repercussions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-biodegradable materials can linger in the environment for lengthy periods, contributing to waste accumulation and potential wildlife harm.
According to the EPA, landfills in the United States collected 27.1 million tons of non biodegradable plastics in 2018, underlining the importance of long-term waste management solutions. Furthermore, silica gel particles are microscopic and can be confused with microplastics, a major environmental concern. These microplastics can enter aquatic ecosystems, damaging marine life and possibly entering the human food chain. Addressing these difficulties requires a holistic approach that includes improved waste management methods, recycling technology, and awareness campaigns to encourage responsible disposal as consumers and industry emphasize environmental stewardship.
Silica gel is used in the food and beverage sector to increase product shelf life by managing moisture levels, preventing spoiling, and maintaining product quality. The usage of silica gel in food packaging is expected to grow as customer demand for packaged foods and convenience items rises. Packaged spices and herbs demand is expanding as customer preferences shift toward handy, ready-to-use food products. The function of silica gel in protecting the quality of these items is consistent with the industry's requirement for effective packaging solutions. Silica gel's capacity to reduce moisture-related difficulties like clumping, caking, and deterioration increases its usefulness in the food and beverage industry. The global spice and herbs market will likely expand further, owing to rising demand for ethnic and gourmet foods.
The moisture-absorbing qualities of silica gel help preserve the quality and shelf life of spices and herbs, vital ingredients in many cuisines worldwide.
The global silica gel market is segmented based on type, application, and region.
The type is further segmented into indicating silica gel and no-indicating silica gel for better understanding.
Silica gel is a form of desiccant that changes color when exposed to moisture. It comprises a moisture-sensitive chemical, cobalt chloride, that changes color when saturated with moisture from one color (usually blue or orange) to another (pink or green). This hue shift indicates the amount of moisture in the environment or packing. This indicates that silica gel is widely employed in electronic products and gadgets. Manufacturers, for example, place identifying silica gel packets within packing when transporting sensitive electrical components such as microchips or circuit boards.
Silica gel with no indication is commonly used in pharmaceuticals and food packaging. Controlling humidity levels is critical for maintaining medicine stability and efficacy in the pharmaceutical business. Non-identifying silica gel packets are inserted inside medicine containers to minimize moisture-related degradation. Similarly, non-indicating silica gel is used in the food business to keep food products dry and prevent deterioration during storage and transit.
The segment can be bifurcated by application into Pharmaceutical, Food and Beverage, Electronics, and Others.
In the pharmaceutical business, silica gel is commonly used to preserve drugs, supplements, and medical equipment from moisture-related degradation. Pharmaceutical companies frequently insert silica gel packets in pharmaceutical containers to prevent moisture absorption, which could damage the product's effectiveness and stability.
Silica gel is used in the food and beverage industries to prevent moisture-related deterioration and to keep products fresh. It is often used to pack beef jerky, dried fruits, and snacks.
The global silica gel market research is analyzed in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.
Asia-Pacific is predicted to rise at a substantial CAGR of 7.1% throughout the forecast period. The Asia Pacific market is predicted to grow at a moderate pace. Rising investments in end-use industries are expected to drive revenue growth in the Asia Pacific. Other factors driving revenue growth in the market include the region's strong demand for electronics, food and beverage items, and expanding packaging industry demand. Furthermore, developing economies like China and India are expected to assist the region's business. China and India are two of the world's fastest-growing economies. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the value-added of China's pharmaceutical industry increased by 24.8% in 2021 over the previous year. China is also a leader in the personal care business, and silica gel is utilized as a scrub component in personal care products. The Chinese personal care industry revenue is expected to be around USD 24.603 billion in 2021. Revenue increased by about 5% to USD 23.335 billion in 2020. Many meals and supplements contain silica gel to minimize clumping, making packaging, shipping, flow-ability, and eventual consumption easier. In 2020-21, India's food processing sector was worth USD 393.41 million, with a potential value of USD 470 billion by 2025. Furthermore, overall agricultural and allied product exports in FY21 were USD 41.25 billion. As a result of these factors, the region's silica gel market is predicted to rise steadily over the forecast period.
North America holds a sizeable global market share and is expected to boost at a CAGR of 6.6% during the forecast period. The market in North America is predicted to increase steadily. Because of its exceptional absorption properties, silica gel is becoming increasingly important in pharmaceutical product packaging. Because of its use as a catalyst in the petrochemical industry and the refining and processing of natural gas, silica gel is in high demand in the region's petrochemical and oil & gas sectors as shale gas output in the United States increases. The demand for moisture management products such as silica gel is predicted to rise as the North American electronics industry grows and evolves. Moisture prevention is critical for manufacturers and users who want to preserve the longevity and performance of electronic equipment. This gives a chance for silica gel suppliers to deliver specialized solutions for various electronic applications, thereby contributing to the success and expansion of the sector. Furthermore, the widespread use of silica gel in chromatography for biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical research is expected to drive up demand for the material in North America.
The European market is predicted to contribute significantly to worldwide revenue growth. The regional market's revenue growth is likely to expand due to the region's established and innovative industrial infrastructure, which is expected to drive demand for silica gel in Europe. The European pharmaceutical business contributes significantly to the region's economy, with a heavy emphasis on quality and regulatory compliance. To protect the quality and efficacy of pharmaceuticals, strict laws and guidelines in the pharmaceutical industry emphasize the importance of proper packaging and storage. Furthermore, the increasing use of silica gel in the pharmaceutical sector is expected to drive revenue growth in the region.
The Middle East and Africa market is predicted to grow steadily throughout the forecast period. Increasing demand for pharmaceuticals in Saudi Arabia and government incentives for investment businesses to establish production facilities in the country will likely fuel revenue growth in this regional market. Saudi Arabia's government is attempting to minimize reliance on the upstream oil and gas sector by enticing foreign investors to establish manufacturing facilities there.
Latin America's food and beverage industries use silica gel for moisture control in packaging. Coffee, for example, is a commonly manufactured and exported product from Latin American countries. Moisture can cause mold growth and loss in quality in coffee beans during storage and transit. Silica gel packets are frequently included in coffee packaging to absorb excess moisture and keep the coffee beans fresh and aromatic. Latin America is a major coffee-producing region with important global coffee market contributions, including Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Coffee exports from Latin American countries are an important source of revenue, and preserving coffee bean quality is critical for international market competitiveness.
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