Cyclic Olefin Copolymers: Healthcare and Packaging Take Center Stage as Leading End Users
The healthcare sector is characterized by a labyrinth of laws and regulations imposed on various products, ranging from medicines and medical devices, to even the smallest component used in the packaging of these products. Cyclic olefin copolymers are becoming the most sought-after plastic used in healthcare and packaging, creating new opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers. The potential for innovation in the cyclic olefin copolymers landscape expanded with a mounting number of packaging companies amassing to embrace them as a barrier material, and Transparency Market Research (TMR) offers a complete assessment on the growth prospects that will shape the future of this market.
In its latest offering, TMR provides critical information about the industry-wide adoption of cyclic olefin copolymers and manufacturers’ strategies, to stay ahead of the curve in this space. The study finds that, over 54 kilo tons of cyclic olefin copolymers were consumed worldwide, and the market was valued at nearly US$ 600 million in 2018. The growing demand for cyclic olefin copolymers in a wide range of end-use industries, such as packaging, diagnostics, optics, and electronics, is expected to provide an impetus to the growth of this landscape in the coming years.
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Cyclic Olefin Copolymers Supplanting Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based polymers in Pharmaceutical Packaging
The demand for cyclic olefin copolymers has been high in various end-use industries, including packaging, healthcare, electronics, and optics. However, nearly 20 kilo tons of cyclic olefin copolymers were consumed by the packaging industry in 2018, which was valued at over US$ 205 million. With over one-third revenue share of the global market for cyclic olefin copolymers, the packaging space is likely to remain the most lucrative end-use industry for market players in the coming years.
The growing demand for cyclic olefin copolymer resins is mainly attributed to the need for an efficient resin with high chemical resistance and optical transparency, to replace high-cost PAN-based polymers, which are colloquially known through the Barex brand in the medical packaging industry. The sales of PAN in the food-packaging industry were impacted by the adoption of barrier materials, including ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), and this trend also spread through the pharmaceutical-packaging industry with the rise in the adoption of cyclic olefin copolymers.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the healthcare sector, despite the regulatory constraints associated with changing medical packaging materials, are switching from PAN-based polymers to cyclic olefin copolymers. The demand for packaging material with superior chemical performance will only grow in the coming years, which is likely to reflect in the rapid growth in the consumption of cyclic olefin copolymers in the packaging industry.
Stakeholders’ Strategies Revolve around Research & Development
In the market, where end-use industries range from electronics to healthcare, manufacturers and suppliers of cyclic olefin copolymers are building their upcoming business strategies based on the dynamic requirements from these end users. Leading manufacturers are strengthening their research & development facilities to innovate the performance characteristics of cyclic olefin copolymers so as to suit the end-user demand. Leading suppliers in the cyclic olefin copolymers market have been focusing on increasing the size of their distribution units, especially in developed regions such as North America and Europe. Market leaders are likely to consolidate their positions with the development of their patented manufacturing technologies to expand their product ranges.
Manufacturers are building their strategies focusing on the packaging industry as the target end-use industry. However, threats from low-cost plastics continue to restrict the growth of cyclic olefin copolymers market players. While they are emerging as a commercial alternative for PAN-based polymers in packaging, cheaper and commonly available plastics such as acrylic and polycarbonates, replacing cyclic olefin copolymers in most applications. Though large companies such as SABIC, PolyPlastics Inc., and Johnson & Johnson are boosting the adoption of cyclic olefin copolymers, owing to their superior chemical properties, the adoption of cost-competitive plastics is likely to remain high among small- and medium-sized end users in this market.
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Analysis on the Competitive Landscape of the Cyclic Olefin Copolymers Market
The global market for cyclic olefin copolymers is highly consolidated among the top four companies, such as TOPAS Advanced Polymers GmbH, Zeon Corporation, JSR Corporation, and Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. Most frontrunners in the cyclic olefin copolymers landscape are headquartered in Asia Pacific, making the region a top revenue pocket for leading players as well as new entrants. Nearly half the share of the global consumption of cyclic olefin copolymers is observed in the Asia Pacific region, with a strong presence of incumbents in Japan and China.
Top companies in this landscape have been on the acquisition spree to maintain their position and compete on their technological expertise in the cyclic olefin copolymers market. For example, in January 2018, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. acquired ARRK Corporation, a Japanese provider of development support services, to enhance the company’s network to offer products on an international level. In March 2018, TOPAS Advanced Polymers GmbH announced that it would acquire the Polyplastics Group, a global supplier of engineering thermoplastics, to strengthen its position in the cyclic olefin copolymers landscape in the Americas.