Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market size is expected to reach a value of US$12.6 billion by the end of the year 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period from 2022-2027. Soft-touch polyurethane coatings are acrylic polyurethane formulated to provide a soft, smooth feel to the coating surface. Soft-touch polyurethane coatings or dispersing agents have superior properties such as young’s modulus, yield strength, and tensile strength, excellent durability, and scratch & stuff resistance which makes them ideal for interior wood surfaces including furniture, doors, trim and automotive interiors. Thus, the increase in demand for soft-touch polyurethane coatings is widely used in automobiles, and the packaging industry is one of the major factors driving the soft-touch polyurethane coatings industry growth. Soft-touch polyurethane coatings are used to reduce chemical and abrasion resistance. The elasticity and drag from Soft-touch coatings can also prevent slippage of parts due to their elasticity and provide a matte finish which makes them ideal for various end-use industries such as electrical & electronics, automotive, and packaging, which, in turn, is driving the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market.
With the Covid-19 pandemic taking a toll on businesses across the globe, the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market faced challenges during the year 2020 and also in 2021. Soft-touch polyurethane coatings are widely used as a dispersing agent in interior automotive such as door panels. But during the COVID pandemic, the production activities of the automotive sector were closed which may hamper the market growth. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), passenger car registrations down to a fall of about 25% in 2020. According to Asian Automobile Analysis (AAA), Toyota’s automobile sales in China fell 70.2% to 24,000 units in February 2020. In March 2021, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA)”, vehicle production in Europe, North America, and South America fell by 21%, 20%, and 30%, respectively. However, the global soft-touch polyurethane coatings market size was hugely affected which is limiting the market growth.
Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Analysis – By Technology
Water-based technology held the largest share of over 50% in the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market in the year 2021. Water-based soft feel polyurethane coating reacts with hydroxyl functional groups such as polyols and polyisocyanate which are present in the polymer to form polyurethane and release carbon dioxide. Water-based PU coatings provide fast curing of ultraviolet polyurethane coatings which are made very useful in the wood industry. Waterborne PU soft-touch coating provides comparable finishing quality to solvent-based coatings in color and haptic performance which is ideally suitable for more eco-friendly coatings. Additionally, these are a content low amount of VOC; thus, stringent government regulations to reduce the emission of volatile organic content (VOC) are also creating growth for polyurethane coatings. In 2019, Environment Protection Agency New England has mandated manufacturing facilities to reduce their VOC emission by making process changes and installing air pollution control equipment. Thus, due to such factors, water-based technology is widely used to form soft-touch polyurethane coatings.
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Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Analysis – By Type
Two components (2K) held the largest share of more than 60% in the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market in the year 2021. Two-component polyurethane coatings are solvent-based coating system which is used to reduce the volatility of organic solvents. Two components polyurethane, linkage as dispersing agents for low VOC content, provide excellent anti-fingerprint, young’s modulus, anti-scratch, and abrasion-resistant properties, making the coating very durable which makes them safer to operate in end-use industries such as furniture paints and printing inks for paper. Thus, stringent government regulations to reduce the emission of volatile organic content (VOC) are also creating growth for two components of polyurethane coatings. In August 2020, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) issued new standards limiting the use of VOCs and other chemicals in coatings and adhesive manufacturing. This will further drive the soft-touch coatings market.
Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Analysis – By End Use Industry
Automotive held the largest share of more than 30% of the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market in the year 2021. Soft-touch coatings are widely used in interior automotive to provide a premium look and leather texture to plastic surfaces to car interiors. Thus, it is widely used in panels, holders, and armrests which is estimated to create an opportunity for the soft-touch polyurethane industry. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), global vehicle production increased by 21.08 million in January-march 2021 compared to 18.03 million in January-March 2020. According to Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the Auto Care Association, in China, light-duty sales will grow from US$281 billion in 2020 to US$314 billion in 2021. According to the International organization of Vehicle Motor Manufacturers (OICA), in China commercial vehicle production increased by 31.4% to 5731161 units in 2020 as compared to 4360472 units in 2019. According to the European Automobile Manufacturer Association (ACEA), the automotive sector is a major investor in R&D in Europe, which has increased by 6.7% to reach €57.4 billion (US$ 64.25 billion) annually as of 2019. Thus, the growing automotive sector is estimated to fuel the demand for soft-touch polyurethane coatings.
Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Analysis – By Geography
The Asia Pacific held the largest share of more than 40% in the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market size in the year 2021, due to the increasing demand from various end-use industries such as the automotive industry in Asian countries such as India and China are estimated to grow the demand for soft-touch polyurethane coatings. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian automotive industry (including component manufacturing) is expected to reach US$251 to US$282 billion by 2026. According to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), in India sales of passenger vehicles increased to 2,91,001 units in November 2020, compared with 2,79,365 units in November 2019. According to the International organization of Vehicle Motor Manufacturers, in China commercial vehicle production increased by 31.4% to 5731161 units in 2020 as compared to 4360472 units in 2019. According to the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China has become a world leader in the electric bus segment which grows in production of electric buses at 34% by 2025. Thus, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA, the Chinese government expects the production of automobiles to reach 35 million units by 2025. Hence, these are hugely creating an opportunity for market growth in the region.
Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Drivers
Growing demand from End-Use Industries
Soft-touch polyurethane coatings/dispersing agents are widely used to coat the interior surface of automobiles which offer resistance to various environmental factors such as scratch, abrasion, chemicals, young’s modulus, yield strength, and tensile strength. Thus, the increasing automotive production is estimated to grow the consumption of soft-touch polyurethane coatings. According to the International organization of Vehicle Motor Manufacturers, in Germany, commercial vehicle production increased by a total of 100% in 2020 as compared to 2019. According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), the Chinese government expects the production of automobiles to reach 35 million units by 2025. According to the European Automobile Manufacturer Association (ACEA), the automotive sector is a major investor in R&D in Europe, which has increased by 6.7% to reach €57.4 billion (US$ 64.25 billion) annually as of 2019. In 2020, automobile manufacturers operate some 226-vehicle assembly and production plants in the European Union. In addition, soft-touch polyurethane coating offers a protective shield to electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and others from accidental scratch and damages. These coatings are highly durable and excellent resistance to weathering and UV radiation which is growing demand for soft-touch polyurethane coatings from the electronics sector. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), consumer electronics sales in the U.S. are forecast to reach US$461 billion in 2021, an 4.3% increase year-over-year. According to India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), India is expected to reach a value of US$ 100 billion to manufacture laptops and tablets by 2025. Hence, such factors are globally driving the soft-touch polyurethane coatings industry.
Rising Packaging Industry is estimated to grow the consumption of Soft-Touch Polyurethane Coatings
Soft-touch polyurethane coatings are used to enhance product quality, improve packaging design, and enhance the quality image of the packed products. Polyurethane dispersing agents have the technical qualities for water-based lamination ink which is the ideal solution for food packaging. Also, soft-touch polyurethane coatings are safer, lighter, more durable and, eco-friendly for the packaging industry. Thus, the increasing demand for eco-friendly packaging from cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals is estimated to grow the demand for soft-touch polyurethane coatings. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India’s domestic pharmaceutical market is estimated to reach US$ 65 billion by 2024 and ~US$ 120-130 billion by 2030. According to Eurostat, in Europe, dairy products and soft drinks export 16,203 euros million (US$ 18.51 billion) and 5,650 euros million (US$ 6.45 billion) in 2020, an increase of 3% and 2%during 2019-2020, respectively. According to Cosmetic Europe, a personal care association, the skincare cosmetics market in Europe is increased by euro 21.45 billion (US$ 24.5 billion) in 2020 as compared to euro 20.39 billion (US$ 24.07 billion) as compared to 2018. Hence, the globally increased automotive industry is estimated to boost the consumption of soft-touch polyurethane coatings.
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Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Challenges
Easy Availability of Substitutes
Masterbatches are mainly used across interior furniture and also interior parts of an automobile as an ideal substitute for polyurethane. Masterbatch is batter polyurethane as it offers superior coating penetration on complex shapes for indoor or outdoor items. Masterbatch provides homogeneous color and removes the additional coating efforts and operating costs. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastics are used indoor trims, airbags compartments and, front panels to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle which is required to be coated with high abrasive resistance material such as polyurethane. But it acts like stick-slip action. Thus, masterbatch delivers excellent anti-squeak performance for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene parts in automotive at a low cost. The coating cost of masterbatch is Rs.120-Rs.200 per Kg which is less than polyurethane coatings (Rs.165-Rs.210 per Kg). Also, a masterbatch is reduced stick-slip, has a lower coefficient of friction, minimizes the impact on key polycarbonate/ acrylonitrile butadiene styrene mechanical properties (young’s modulus, strength), and easy-handling then polyurethane coatings. This is one of the major challenges faced by the soft-touch polyurethane coatings industry.
Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market. Major players in the Soft Touch Polyurethane Coatings Market are;
Axalta Coatings Systems
Akzo Nobel N.V.
PPG Industries Ltd
Rust-Oleum – RPM International Inc.
Sokan New Materials
The Sherwin Williams Company
Allnex, and more.
In January 2021, Allnex launched polyurethane coating DAOTAN 7061/35WA. DAOTAN 7061/35WA is an emulsifier-free, high molecular weight, aliphatic urethane-acrylic-hybrid aqueous dispersion with excellent shear stability which is specially designed for automotive OEM and vehicle refinish coating segments.
In June 2020, BASF launched 10 variations of Haptex 2.0 polyurethane (PU) solution for the production of synthetic leather. This product is enhanced higher peel strength, anti-yellowing, and high abrasion performance properties. Synthetic leather made with this PU solution is used to meet stringent VOC standards and is useful in various industries such as furniture, footwear, automotive, apparel, and accessories.
In January 2020, BASF announced a single-digit million-euro investment in the capacity expansion of water-based polyurethane dispersions with a production capacity of 30% at its Castellbisbal site in Spain.
The Asia Pacific held the largest share in the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market owing to the growing various end-use industries such as automotive in Asian Countries such as India and China.
Local Air Quality Regulators and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are continuously assessing the amount of VOCs released from the paints & coatings industry. Thus, the imposition of regulations is providing new opportunities for soft-touch polyurethane coatings.
Increasing implementation of various stringent environmental regulations on reduction of high volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is driving the market demand of soft-touch polyurethane coatings market.
However, the easy availability of substitutes due to the high cost of polyurethane coatings is creating restraint for the soft-touch polyurethane coatings market size in near future.
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