The global softgel capsules market size was valued at USD 7.55 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 14.86 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.81% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Softgel capsules are orally administered in capsule dosage form and predominantly comprise gelatin, pullulan, HPMC, potato starch, pectin, and other ingredients. Softgel capsules carry liquid, semisolid, or solid medication that dissolves more rapidly in the gastric fluids than a hard gelatin capsule. These are commonly employed in formulating poorly soluble medicines to improve their absorption. The market is expanding for several key reasons, including the rising prevalence of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and the rising demand for better drug therapies.
According to the American College of Cardiology, more than 523 million people worldwide are affected by several cardiovascular problems. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases would increase the demand for softgel capsules for patient treatment. Consequently, boosting the availability of novel softgel capsules in emerging economies through developing innovative products will drive market expansion during the forecast period.
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Rising Health Consciousness of the Population
The growing number of health-conscious individuals is projected to boost the market during the forecast period. The growing number of gyms, marathons and other sporting activities increases the likelihood of an increase in demand for these capsules. In addition, the market is anticipated to receive a boost from the increased interest in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. The pharmaceutical industry's growing competition and the healthcare industry's projected continued growth are expected to impact the market share significantly.
Growing Use of Natural Raw Materials
The availability of natural raw materials for the production of vegetarian softgel capsules and a rise in demand for vegetarian softgel capsules due to their advantages and uses are driving factors in the market's expansion. However, the high manufacturing cost of vegetarian softgel capsules due to their specialized raw material and production processes is expected to hinder the growth of the vegetarian softgel capsules market during the forecast period. On the other hand, a surge in innovations in the pharmaceutical industry for producing softgel capsules due to a massive pool of health-conscious consumers is anticipated to offer lucrative opportunities for market expansion during the forecast period.
Cost Variability and High Prices
The frequent price shifts associated with soft gelatin capsules will likely hamper the expansion of the market during the forecast period. The high cost associated with the vegetarian capsules is anticipated to present a substantial barrier to the market expansion throughout the evaluation timeframe. However, the industry's expansion is hindered by several problems, i.e., the low stability of softgel capsules containing water-soluble chemicals and the significant price fluctuation of softgel capsules themselves.
Utilization of Modern Technology
The increasing use of technologies by softgel capsule manufacturers is expected to introduce innovative products such as crew caps, duo caps, and a hydrophilic sandwich (HS), which can potentially boost the softgel capsule market in the assessment term significantly. In addition, the substantial research and development efforts made by many companies will benefit the introduction of new products. The increasing availability of novel softgel capsules across emerging economies and the introduction of innovative products is expected to drive the market.
The global softgel capsules market is segmented by type, application, and manufacturer.
Based on type, the market is segmented into gelatin/animal-based and non-animal based.
The gelatin-based softgel capsules dominate the market due to the high prevalence of several chronic diseases, such as infections and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, the growing acceptance of softgel capsules due to their numerous benefits, such as flavor masking, ease of swallowing, and longer shelf life, will drive the growth of this market. The high preference among nutraceutical and pharmaceutical manufacturers for gelatin-based empty capsules for various formulations due to their ease of use and non-reactive nature is expected to drive the growth of the softgel capsules market revenue.
Based on application, the market is segmented into antacid and anti-flatulent preparations, anti-anemic preparations, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotic and antibacterial drugs, cough and cold preparations, health supplements, vitamin and dietary supplements, and pregnancy.
The health and dietary category are the most dominant in the market because of the increased use of vitamins and minerals to strengthen one's immune system. Additionally, increasing people's awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle will increase the demand for nutritional supplements such as omega3 and others. In addition, the abrupt spike in the number of people using vitamins during the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to market growth.
Based on manufacturers, the market is segmented into pharmaceutical companies, nutraceutical companies, cosmeceutical companies, contract manufacturing organizations, and softgel capsules.
The pharmaceutical business segment is anticipated to expand in a lucrative manner due to the availability of softgel capsules for treating various disorders. The fact that a significant number of pharmaceutical companies in the market are working to develop novel drugs to improve patient outcomes will also contribute to the growth of the softgel capsule market.
The global softgel capsules market is segmented into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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North America is the most significant in the global softgel capsules market due to the rising desire of critical companies to debut products in developed countries. The most significant players strive to receive approvals from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States and other regulatory organizations to expand their client bases in other locations. Europe is the second-dominant region because various European countries have increased their funding for research and development of soft gelatin capsules.
It is anticipated that the market in Asia-Pacific will grow at the highest CAGR due to a larger patient pool that is afflicted with multiple chronic illnesses. In addition, the geographic expansion of key companies into the new economies of the Asia-Pacific region will further increase its growth rate for the entirety of the analytical time frame. LAMEA has tremendous growth potential and is anticipated to become a lucrative market. The rising prevalence of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease (CVD) and rising public awareness of the consumption of various dietary and health supplements are a few factors that are likely to support the market's growth in these regions.