This article provides an overview of trends in the global adhesives market

The economies of developing regions of the world are expanding rapidly. Growth is being fueled by rising standards of living, the increased production of manufactured goods, and continued investment in new and modernized manufacturing facilities. The rise of the middle class in emerging regions is increasing the demand for cars, better housing, disposable diapers, books, furniture, more sophisticated consumer packaging, consumer electronics, better telecommunications, and more. Additionally, industrial production in developing countries is tied to the global economy and is export-oriented. Emerging regions of the world are capturing their share of the world's production of many manufactured products.

Adhesive consumption in developing regions is expanding at about three times the rate of the United States and Western Europe. Several developing countries are seeing adhesive demand advancing at double-digit rates. In 2003, adhesive consumption in developing regions was some 15 billion pounds, worth $6.2 billion. Excluding low-cost forest product binders, consumption was 6.3 billion pounds, worth $4.75 billion, with an expected annual rate of growth of 6%.

Figure 1. Adhesive Consumption in Developing Regions in 2003 (Total: $6,200 Million)

Regional Overview

Figure 1 highlights adhesive consumption in developing regions. Asia, excluding Japan, consumed $3.85 billion of adhesives in 2003. Adhesive consumption in Japan was an additional $1.5 billion, but little growth is projected owing to a mature economy, and because imported products employing adhesives are capturing share in several end uses. China is the largest user of adhesives in Asia, with $1.8 billion consumed in 2003. Adhesive growth in China is forecast at a 9% annual rate with many end uses advancing at double-digit rates. South Korea ($400 MM) and Taiwan ($320 MM) are other larger adhesive consumers in Asia, each with more modest growth prospects of 3-4% per year. Indonesia ($275 MM) and Malaysia ($200 MM) are the largest producers of wood panels in Asia behind China. India, the world's second most populous country, consumed some $200 MM of adhesive. Adhesive consumption in India is advancing at an 8% annual rate, with flexible packaging and disposables among the fastest growing end uses. Vietnam is the smallest consumer of adhesives in the region ($50 MM). The recent opening up of Vietnam's economy makes the country the fastest growing user of adhesives in the region.

Adhesive demand in many Latin American countries has been off the last few years, owing to faltering economies. However, adhesive volume has recently begun to pick up. Forest product binder is the largest end use in the region, representing 20% of the total dollars. Packaging, woodworking and consumer are other larger applications, each valued at about $200 MM. Brazil ($525 MM) and Mexico ($300 MM) are the largest adhesive users in Latin America, combining for about 60% of consumption. Chile holds third place with forest product binders, representing 60% of its dollars. Chile is the region's second-largest consumer of forest product binders behind Brazil. Columbia and Argentina are other larger adhesive outlets in the region, each with consumption of $100 MM or more.

The broadly defined Eastern European region consumed $650 MM of adhesives in 2003. Most countries in the region experienced economic downturns in the 1990s. However, the enactment of economic and political reforms has led to modest growth in recent years. Many countries are preparing to enter the European Union, which has fostered growing trade in the region. Poland ($220 MM) is the region's largest adhesive consumer. Russia consumed $140 MM of adhesives with forest products - some two-thirds of the total. Russia possesses the world's largest forest. Other adhesive end uses in Russia are surprisingly small considering its population. The Czech Republic ($65 MM) is third in Eastern European adhesive consumption. Forest products, packaging and consumer are the major adhesive end uses in the Czech Republic.

Turkey is the largest user of adhesives in the Africa and Middle East region, with consumption of some $150 MM in 2003. Forest products and pressure-sensitive products combined represent about one-half of the country's dollars. South Africa is the second largest regional consumer, with adhesive purchases of nearly $70 MM. The social and economic cost of AIDS is a drag on the country's economy. Saudi Arabia ($50 MM) is another large user of adhesives in the region.

Figure 2. Adhesives in Developing Regions By End Use in 2003 (Total: $6,200 Million)

End-Use Review

Figure 2 shows adhesive consumption in developing regions by end use. Forest products is the largest end-use segment, representing 23% of the dollar value. China is by far the largest consumer of these binders, with about one-quarter of the total. Numerous plants for the production of plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard have been built in China in recent years. Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Poland and Russia are countries using $100 MM or more of these binders.

Packaging is the second-largest end use, with 14% of the adhesive value. In many emerging countries, packaging is becoming more consumer-oriented and increasingly sophisticated. Flexible packaging is a fast-growing application representing nearly one-quarter of the packaging dollars. Woodworking ($600 MM) follows packaging in dollar value. China is the largest user as furniture exports surge and domestic furniture consumption grows. Brazil and India are other larger countries in the woodworking segment.

Consumer, pressure-sensitive products and footwear each are $500-550 MM end uses. Cyanoacrylates, glue sticks, and white and wood glues together comprise over three-quarters of the consumer dollars. Most of the adhesive for pressure-sensitive products is for tapes and labels. China and Taiwan combine to consume two-thirds of the pressure-sensitive adhesives. China produces over one-half of the world's shoes and consumes nearly 70% of the adhesives for this end use. Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil are among the other larger footwear adhesive users.

Larger end uses included in the other segment are product assembly, construction, electronics, disposables and automotive. Cyanoacrylate, anaerobic and epoxy adhesive volume in product assembly applications was some $200 MM. Electronic adhesives have emerged from a slowdown in consumption during 2001-2002 and are projected to once again expand at a double-digit yearly rate. Disposable diaper and feminine hygiene products consumed some $220 MM of adhesives in 2003, and a 10% annual rate of growth is forecast.

Ample Room for Growth

Emerging regions of the world covered in this article had a combined population of nearly 4 billion people and a total gross domestic product of $7 trillion in 2003. Adhesive consumption per capita was less than $2, well below the over $20 per person consumption in the United States. Political instability, social unrest, protectionism, financial mismanagement, natural disaster, disease, etc., are among the risks that are generally greater than those in industrialized nations. Growth in the emerging economies can be uneven, but in the longterm is projected to outpace the overall global economy.

This article is based on "Adhesives in Developing Regions," a study available by subscription from Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney, One DeBaun Ave., W. Caldwell, NJ 07006; call 973-439-0030 or .