Pearl pigments, also known as pearlescent pigments, are very fine powdered mica pigments. It is non-toxic, inert, and has transparent appearance due to its smooth and highly reflective planes. When these pigments are coated with a layer of metallic oxide, it gives a pearly shine. These pigments belong to the group of phosphorescent and fluorescent pigments. Pearl pigments can withstand temperatures as high as 800°C and are bad conductors of heat and electricity.
The global pearl pigment market size was US$ 1.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. Increasing demand for pearl pigments from various end-use industries such as automobile, building and construction, packaging, and printing is driving growth of the global pearl pigment market. Pearl pigments find application in automobiles for automobile coatings. These are preferred as coating pigments, as it exhibits high resistance capacities to acids and alkalis. Also, the gloss of pearl pigments gives a new color to the automobiles. Lustrous inks used for printing utilize pearl pigments and it is largely used for food packaging, as it is safe and non-toxic for edible purposes.
There is increasing demand for alternative pigments in the paints and coatings industry due to rising concerns about toxicology and lead compounds. This has resulted in several legislations, which demand the removal of heavy metals within Europe, U.S., and other regions. Therefore, manufacturers are being compelled to use alternatives for heavy metals, which in turn increases the demand for sustainable special effect coated pearl pigments.
However, increasing consumer and industrial awareness about depleting natural ore reserves and mineral deposits is expected to affect the production of natural pearl pigments and increase demand for synthetic alternatives in large-scale applications. This is expected to hamper growth of the pearl pigment market over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region in the pearl pigment market. Increasing sales of automobiles and consumer goods in China, India, and Vietnam due to high disposable income has resulted in increasing demand for pearl pigment in Asia Pacific region. This in turn is expected to drive growth of the market. In Europe, there is drastic decrease in demand for pearl pigment due to the economic slowdown in most of the European countries.
Some of the key players operating in the global pearl pigment market include Millennium Chemicals, Inc., BASF SE, Heubach GmbH, L’Arca Srl, Nanyang Lingbao Pearl Pigment Co. Ltd., Pritty Pearlescent Pigments, Brenntag Specialties Inc., RIKA Technology Co. Ltd., and The Dow Chemical Company.
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