Solidified figures: Ceresana report on the European adhesives market

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Failures can become success stories. Cyanoacrylate was completely unusable as a transparent plastic – but as a superglue, the fast-curing material is now constantly inspiring new users: doctors use it to spray wound dressings, forensic technicians secure fingerprints, demonstrators glue themselves to roads. Ceresana has now examined the market for adhesives in Europe for the fifth time: In 2021, the total demand of vinyl, acrylic, polyurethane, elastomer, epoxy and other adhesive types in 22 European countries, including Russia, the Caucasus and Turkey, amounted to around 3.2 million tonnes.

Proven and innovative applications

The most important sales market for adhesives is the paper and packaging segment, which accounts for around 30% of total European demand. Due to stagnating private consumption, Ceresana market researchers do not expect a recovery in this area until 2024. The construction industry, the second largest market for adhesives, is also currently experiencing a significant slump. The automotive industry, which is increasingly replacing screws, rivets and welding with adhesives, is also relying on innovative joining technology: Around 18 kilograms of adhesives are used in a new car, and around 250 kilograms in a bus – from the protective layers of the battery cells to the crash-proof windows. Adhesives enable lightweight construction not only in aircraft, but also in ships, for example. Other major applications for adhesives are wood processing, leather, shoes and other consumer products.

Sticky vinyls

The most significant adhesive type in terms of volume is currently vinyl products, which offer a particularly wide range of applications. The most important grades include adhesives based on polyvinyl acetate (PVAC). Additionally, polyvinyl acetate is used to produce polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), which is also used as an adhesive for porous materials such as paper, cardboard, wood, cork or leather. The main consumers of vinyl adhesives are the paper, packaging, wood products and construction industries. They mainly use water-based products and hot melt adhesives.

Wanted: environmentally friendly adhesives

Adhesives sometimes contain large quantities of solvents that can evaporate from bonded surfaces or from containers. Organic solvents, especially aromatic hydrocarbons such as xylene or toluene, are not only a fire hazard but also a health hazard because their vapors are addictive and can cause cancer. For this reason, more environmentally compatible alternatives are increasingly being sought. In Europe, water-based adhesives already accounted for around 52% of total consumption in 2021. If an adhesive contains only water as a solvent, however, preservatives have to be added, which in turn can be problematic for people with allergies.

Current market data on adhesives

Chapter 1 of Ceresana’s new study provides a comprehensive presentation and analysis of the European adhesives market – including forecasts up to 2031: for each country, the development of sales, demand per application, trade, and production are detailed. For the 8 largest countries in Europe, market data is broken down in detail for the different adhesive types and adhesive technologies: waterborne adhesives, hot melts, solvent-borne adhesives, reactive adhesives and other technologies. Chapter 2 thoroughly analyzes the different applications of adhesives, their respective data and influencing factors: paper and packaging, construction, wood processing, transportation, shoes and leather, consumer products, other applications. It also looks at demand for individual adhesive types: Vinyl, Acrylic, Polyurethane (PUR), Elastomers, Epoxy and other adhesives. Chapter 3 provides a useful manufacturer directory with the 83 most important adhesive producers in Europe, clearly arranged by contact details, revenues, profits, product range, production sites, brief profile and specific information on adhesives.

About Ceresana
As one of the world’s leading market research institutes, Ceresana specializes in the chemicals, plastics, packaging, and industrial goods sectors. Special focus areas are bio-economy and automotive / mobility. Since 2002, companies have benefited from high-quality industry analyses and forecasts. Over 200 market studies provide more than 10,000 clients around the world with the knowledge base for sustainable success.