Iron oxide is a chemical compound composed of oxygen and iron, it is found naturally and can be prepared synthetically. It varies in color, ranging from black to silver-grey to brown and is widely used across pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic industry, the manufacturing industry, and the steel & iron industry. They can be classified into green iron oxide, black iron oxide, red iron oxide, brown iron oxide, yellow iron oxide, orange iron oxide, and other blends. Some of the major end-user industries of iron oxide are construction, paints & coatings, plastics, chemicals, paper & pulp manufacturing, textile, ceramics, and leather.

The global iron oxide market was estimated to account for US$ 2.1 billion in terms of revenue in 2018 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period (2019 to 2027).


The growing construction industry around the globe, especially in the Asia Pacific region, is expected to be a prime driver factor propelling the market growth of iron oxide. According to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, the Construction industry generates over US$ 360 billion in revenue, producing around 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product and has a projected annual growth rate of 2.4% in the next five years.  Therefore, the growing construction industry in the Asia-Pacific region is propelling the market growth of iron oxide. Moreover, according to the United Nations DESA, as of 2014, 54% of the world population lives in urban areas. This share is projected to expand to 66% by 2050.

Market Opportunities

The growing usage of iron oxide in the water treatment industry is expected to offer lucrative growth opportunities over the forecast timeframe. Ferric ions are widely used in the water treatment process for treating liquid wastes that contain large amounts of hazardous metals and radioactive materials such as arsenic which is common natural contaminants present in water and is highly carcinogenic in nature. Therefore, the rising demand for iron oxide from wastewater treatment is expected to fuel the market growth of iron oxide.

Market Restraints

Exposure to iron oxide can cause chronic health effects such as cancer, reproductive health problems, and other long term effects. Moreover, prolonged exposure can also lead to discoloring eyes and breathing problems. It can also lead to other chronic health problems such as skin rashes, irritations, and burns. Therefore, such side-effects associated with the handling of iron oxide are projected to restrict market growth over the forecast timeframe.

Key Takeaways

Among application, construction dominated the global iron oxide market in 2018 with a 48.9% of market share in terms of revenue, followed by paints & coatings and others segment, respectively.

Market Trends

Rising trend of producing “Spray-dried iron oxide granules” or ‘’Micro-granulated pigments” as many manufacturers of iron oxide pigments are adopting spray dryers in their manufacturing plant to cater to the growing demand for micro-granulated pigments. For instance, in August 2015, Cathay Industries has added a spray dryer in its manufacturing facility. The micro- granulated pigments are characterized by their particle size and dust-free nature for their use in the sensitive work environment. The aforementioned characteristics of these pigments are driving their demand across various industries.

The growing interest of manufacturers in developing strengthening distribution channels of iron oxide across the different end-user industries is estimated to foster market growth over the forecast period. For instance, in May 2016, Cathay Industries has reorganized its distribution for the coatings and plastics industries in Europe. For several regions, the iron oxide pigments producer has started cooperation with new partners. This realignment is expected to strengthen the distribution channel of products across the end-user industry.

Competitive Section

Key players operating in the global iron oxide market are LANXESS AG, Huntsman International LLC, Cathay Industries, Toda Kogyo Corporation, Alabama Pigments Company, LLC, Jiangsu Yuxing Industry and Trade Co., Ltd., Gotcha Pigments, Shenghua Group Deqing Huayuan, Pigment Co., Ltd, Hunan Three-Ring Pigments Co., Ltd., Yaroslavsky Pigment Company And Tata Pigments Company

Few Recent Developments

Huntsman International LLC.

  • In February 2015 – the company decided to reduce titanium dioxide capacity by approximately 100 KT by closing production operations at its facility in Calaise, France

Cathay Industries 

  • In August 2015 – the company commenced manufacture of micro granulated iron oxide products at its production unit in Tongling, China. Products manufactured at the facility are marketed under the brand name CATHYGRAN.

Market Taxonomy

By Product Type

  • Red Iron Oxide
  • Yellow Iron Oxide
  • Black Iron Oxide
  • Orange Iron Oxide
  • Brown Iron Oxide
  • Green Iron Oxide
  • Other Blends

By Application

  • Construction
  • Paints & Coatings
  • Plastics
  • Chemicals 
  • Paper & Pulp Manufacturing
  • Textile
  • Ceramics
  • Leather
  • Others (Fertilizers, Cosmetics, Rubber)

By Region

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Latin America
  • Middle East  Africa


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