The market research institute Ceresana expects the global market for fillers to generate revenues of approx. US$27.7 billion in 2021. In 2013, Asia-Pacific was the worldwide largest sales market for fillers, accounting for 48% of total demand, followed by Western Europe and North America. The two most important applications for fillers are the processing of plastics and elastomers. Manufacturers of paper ranked third, followed by the segment paints and varnishes. The production of adhesives and sealants is the smallest of the sales markets analyzed individually.
Fillers are utilized in a broad range of products. As fillers usually are cheaper than the actual carrier material in question, the utilization of fillers offers the chance to significantly reduce costs. However, nowadays many fillers do no longer act as mere supplements only. In fact, they contribute a great deal to improving the properties of the carrier material. Functional fillers influence rigidity, weatherability, electrical conductivity, and other characteristics of the final product. The use of standard plastics in exigent applications, for example, often only is made possible by the addition of certain fillers. A trend towards the use of highly filled compounds, containing up to 85% of fillers, can be observed in the plastics segment. The utilization of nanofillers is another interesting possibility to increase the share of fillers in a product and to drastically improve the product's characteristics at the same time.
The most commonly used filler on the global market is ground calcium carbonate (GCC), followed by precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) and carbon black. Other fillers used in significant quantities are kaolin and talc. All other types of fillers reached an aggregated market share of only 9%. Demand for almost all types will increase rather steadily, with the highest growth rates of more than 3% p.a. being forecast for carbon black and talc. Due to the massive expansion of the automotive industries in China and India, the use of carbon black as filler in the tire industry in particular will continue to increase considerably.
As fillers can be used in manifold applications in various industrial sectors, the development of the market for fillers largely follows the macroeconomic development of a country. Especially the sales markets for fillers in China and India are developing very rapidly. China alone increases demand by almost one million tonnes per year, which is likely to result in Asia-Pacific accounting for more than half of total global consumption of fillers by 2016 already. Western Europe and North America are likely to keep losing market shares; however, losses will not be as high as in the previous eight year period as demand has been increasing again since 2010 and will continue to grow at moderate rates in the next couple of years.