Connecting Old and New: Ceresana Examines the European Market for Adhesives

Future mobility will depend on innovative joining technology. Even today, a new car contains around 18 kg of adhesives – from heat-dissipating protective layers for battery cells to lightweight chassis and crash-proof windows. Where screws, rivets, or welds were used in the past, the automotive industry is now increasingly using adhesives. Ceresana has now examined the European market for adhesives for the fourth time: In 2019, a total of around 3.51 million tonnes were utilized. The market researchers expect sales generated with adhesives across Europe to grow by 0.5 % per year until 2027.

Combining Established and Innovative Materials

This latest study by Ceresana not only examines the growing use of adhesives in the automotive industry, where aluminum and fiber-reinforced plastics have to be joined with steel in a strain-free manner. An astonishing amount of paper is still needed in spite of digitalization and an increasing number of plastics: The most significant sales market for adhesives in 2019 was the segment paper and packaging with around 29% of total European usage. The construction industry came in second by a slight margin. Other major application areas for adhesives are wood processing, shoes and leather, as well as other consumer goods.

Plastics with Special Properties

Vinyl adhesives, which offer a particularly broad range of applications, constituted the most important product type in 2019. Adhesives based on polyvinyl acetate (PVAC) are also among the most important grades. Polyvinyl acetate is additionally used to produce polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), which is likewise used as an adhesive, e.g. for porous materials such as paper, cardboard, wood, cork, or leather. The primary consumers of vinyl adhesives are the paper, packaging, wood products, and construction industries, which use mainly water-based products and hotmelt adhesives.

Looking for Alternatives to Solvents

Physically setting adhesives in particular contain between 30 and 60 percent (by weight) of organic solvents, which evaporate from glued surfaces and from open tubes or bottles. Aromatic hydrocarbons are considered to be not only a fire hazard but also a health risk: Their vapors, such as those of xylene or toluene, can be addictive and are suspected of being carcinogenic and mutagenic. Alternatives that are less harmful to health and the environment are therefore increasingly sought after. In Europe, water-based adhesives already accounted for over 50% of total consumption in 2019. However, if an adhesive contains only water as a solvent, then preservatives must be added to it, which can in turn be problematic for people suffering from allergies. This study by Ceresana provides a breakdown of the adhesives market by technologies: water-based adhesives, hotmelt adhesives, solvent-based adhesives, reactive adhesives, and other products.

The Study in Brief:

Chapter 1 provides an overview and analysis of the European market for adhesives – including forecasts up to 2027: the development of sales, demand per application, trade, and production is presented for each country. The 8 largest countries are additionally analyzed with regard to adhesive technologies (water-based adhesives, hotmelt adhesives, solvent-based adhesives, reactive adhesives, other technologies) and adhesive types.
Chapter 2 analyzes the various applications of adhesives in depth: Data and influential factors on their use in the segments paper and packaging, construction, wood processing, transportation, shoes and leather, consumer goods, and other applications. Additionally the chapter looks at the demand for individual adhesive types: vinyl, acrylic, polyurethane (PUR), elastomers, epoxy, and other adhesives.
Chapter 3 presents a useful manufacturer’s directory with the 82 most important adhesive producers, clearly arranged according to contact information, sales, profit, product range, production sites, profile summary, and specific information on adhesives. The most important manufacturers include: 3M, Bolton, Dow, Fuller, Henkel, Lohmann, Saint-Gobain, and tesa.

Further information:

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About Ceresana
As one of the world’s leading market research institutes, Ceresana is specialized in the segments chemicals, plastics, packaging, and industrial goods with a focus on transportation / mobility. Companies have been benefiting from our high-quality industry analyses and forecasts since 2002. More than 200 market studies provide more than 10,000 customers around the world with the knowledge base for their sustainable success.
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