The rising demand for polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a surface-active agent and specialty solvent in toothpastes, creams and lotions, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, lipsticks, soaps, bath oils, and detergents and for the production of solvents, surfactants, plasticizers, ointments, and suppository base for tablets and capsules in the pharmaceutical industry are the major factors responsible for the growth of the global polyethylene glycol market. Due to the aforementioned reasons, the industry is projected to witness significant growth during the forecast period (2021–2030).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments were forced to impose stringent lockdowns and seal international borders in order to curb the spread of coronavirus. Though economies have been severely affected, there has been a significant increase in the investment in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector. The pharma sector utilizes PEG as an excipient, most recently in the vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna, which, in turn, is leading to a positive impact on the market for polyethylene glycol.
The polyethylene glycol market is categorized into opaque liquid, white wax solid, and flakes/powders, on the basis of form. Out of these, the opaque liquid category held the largest market share in 2020 owing to the high usage of opaque-liquid PEG in the pharmaceutical industry as a release agent and excipient for capsules.
The polyethylene glycol market is categorized into PEG 200, PEG 300, PEG 400, PEG 400 FCC, PEG 3350, PEG 4000, PEG 6000, and others, on the basis of grade. Out of these, the PEG 400 category held the largest share in 2020 due to the low molecular weight and low toxicity of PEG 400. Additionally, it is a useful ingredient in drug formulations to augment the solubility and bioavailability of weakly water-soluble drugs.
Geographically, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region holds the dominating share in the market for polyethylene glycol. This is mainly attributed to the growing demand for the chemical in the medical and pharmaceutical, automotive, and building and construction sectors.
Players in the polyethylene glycol industry have been involved in capacity expansions to enhance their position globally. For instance, in September 2019, BASF SE announced that it has expanded its Verbund plant in Belgium, in order to increase the production capacity of ethylene oxide and its derivatives. The manufacturing capacity of the company for the respective goods increased by nearly 400,000 metric tons per year as a result of the more-than-$570.2-million investment.
Some of the key players operating in the global polyethylene glycol market are BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Croda International plc, Ineos Group Ltd., India Glycols Limited, Liaoning Oxiranchem Inc., Jiangsu Haian Petroleum Chemical Factory, Clariant Ltd., Huntsman Corporation, and AkzoNobel N.V.