Glycol ethers are a group of organic solvents based on alkyl ethers of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. It is produced by reacting alcohols with propylene oxide or ethylene oxide and has high melting point. Glycol ethers are classified as E-series and P-series. This classification is made based on the oxide used in the production of glycol ethers. E-series glycol ethers are found in pharmaceuticals, sunscreens, cosmetics, inks, dyes, and water-based paints, and P-series glycol ethers are used in degreasers, cleaners, aerosol paints, and adhesives. These solvents are mostly water-soluble and biodegradable, and only a few are considered toxic.
Increasing demand for glycol ethers in personal care, cleaners, paints & coatings, pharmaceutical, and printing industries is expected to drive growth of the global glycol ethers market over the forecast period. It is largely used in personal care products and cosmetics in the formulation of skin & hair products, shampoos, personal cleanliness products, and bath products. According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the global cosmetics market size is expected to reach US$ 450 million by 2025, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.5%. The demand for glycol ethers is expected to increase over the forecast period, owing to rising demand for skin care products due to varying climatic conditions.
Moreover, increasing demand for printing inks due to rise in economic growth is expected to drive growth of the glycol ethers market, as these are used in manufacturing of printing inks due to its quick drying nature and compatibility with high speed roll to roll yardage printing. Printing inks are used in various fields such as in publishing print products such as books, newspapers, journals, technical printed materials, and magazines. According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the global printing inks market is expected to be valued at US$ 25 billion by 2025 due to rising demand from corrugated cardboards and flexible packaging applications.
However, factors such as stringent regulations by various agencies for use of glycol ether in consumer goods is one of the major factors that hinder the market growth. Also, low level and direct exposure of the product in humans can result in conjunctivitis, upper respiratory track irritation, headache, temporary corneal clouding, and nausea.
The global glycol ethers market size was valued at US$ 4.87 billion in 2017 and is projected to witness a CAGR of 5.4% over the forecast period.
On the basis of region, the global glycol ethers market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. North America holds dominant position in the global glycol ethers market, owing to increasing consciousness of consumers towards high quality, nontoxic, and biodegradable cosmetics. Europe glycol ethers market growth is driven by increasing use of glycol ether coatings in automotive industry for protection and decorative applications.
Some of the major players operating in the global glycol ethers market include BASF SE, LyondellBasell Industries, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Sasol, Huntsman Corporation, Shell, Matric Chemicals, and Biesterfeld AG, INEOS, Royal Dutch Shell, The Dow Chemical Company, and Eastman Chemical Company.