Gelcoat market size is forecast to reach US$1.1 billion by 2027, after growing at a CAGR of 8% during 2022-2027. The utilization of gelcoat to provide a protective layer and a high-quality finish on the surface of the fiber-reinforced composite, in various end-use industries such as building & construction, automotive, marine, and others is driving the market growth. Gelcoat is often used to color and to improve surface characteristics of the composite such as corrosion resistance, water resistance, heat resistance, and appearance. Polyester gelcoat is applied to the finished part and products of the fiber reinforced composite material to offer surface finish and protection. Also, epoxy gelcoat is applied on the surfaces such as steel, concrete, composites, and wood, in order to provide superior chemical, thermal, and abrasion resistance. Additionally, the flourishing marine and wind energy sector globally is anticipated to be the major driving factor for the gelcoat market during the forecast period.
The COVID-19 has had a negative impact on composite demand across various end-use industries such as marine, transportation, energy, and building & construction, which has reduced gel coat consumption. There has been a temporary suspension of building and construction activities in various regions, which has adversely affected the gelcoat market growth during the outbreak. For instance, the construction output in Great Britain fell by a record 35.0% in Quarter 2 of 2020 compared with Quarter 1 due to the pandemic. The disruption of the supply chain, resulting in the delay or non-arrival of raw materials, the disruption of financial flows, and the increasing absenteeism of production line workers, forced manufacturers of marine and automotive goods to operate at zero or partial capacity. This lead to a decrease in demand for gel coats, which limited the growth of the market during the pandemic in different regions.
Gelcoat Market Segment Analysis – By Resin Type
The polyester segment held the largest share in the gelcoat market in 2021, owing to the extensive characteristics of polyester resins. Polyester resins are less costly and possess properties such as good resistance to corrosion, fast curing, durability, temperature tolerance, and low thermal expansion. For molds and parts, polyester resins used in gelcoats offer durability. Polyester resins, typically methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, require a catalyst to cure or harden (MEKP). They are naturally UV-resistant, usually seen as simple to use, fast curing, temperature and catalyst variation tolerant, and are less costly than epoxy systems. In addition, polyester resins have a high thixotropic index, owing to which the polyester gelcoat market is flourishing during the forecast period.
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Gelcoat Market Segment Analysis – By End Use Industry
The marine industry held the largest share in the gelcoat market in 2021 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.8% during 2022-2027, owing to the increasing demand for gelcoats in the various marine applications. Gelcoat is a resin-based finishing material often used on newly manufactured marines. This adhesive-like material, once applied to a hull, dries into a hard, shell-like casing. Gelcoats are utilized for many marine building and marine repair applications due to their characteristics such as greater strength, flexibility, and resistance to weather, water, and chemicals. In addition, gelcoat is formulated to be UV protective and stable against harmful chemical reactions to marine hulls. The rising growth of marine industry has uplifted the gelcoat market. For instance, according to the government of Canada, in 2020 the marine industry in Atlantic Canada, Alifax Shipyards won a contract of US$25 billion from the Department of National Defense, in order to build 21 combat ships over the next 30 years. Thus, the rising usage of gelcoat in marine sector will drive the market growth in the forecast period.
Gelcoat Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
The Asia-Pacific region dominated the gelcoat market with a share of 38% in 2021. APAC region is one of the leading gelcoat manufacturers, with China and India being the key consumers and suppliers of gelcoat. Gelcoats such as polyester and epoxy offers characteristics such as durability, resistance to ultraviolet degradation, and hydrolysis, on the surface of the fiber-reinforced composite. The rising growth of several end-use industries such as building & construction, marine, automotive, and others, has uplifted the development of the gelcoat market. For instance, according to Lloyd’s Register, in 2030 China will play a key role as the emerging maritime superpower in shipping. In order to achieve this, it intends to build 40 cruise ships (some for the domestic market, some international) over this time. Moreover, the Indian government is also heavily investing in the marine sector. For instance, as per Union Budget 2020-21, the total allocation for the Ministry of Shipping stood at Rs 1,800 crore (US$ 257.22 million). Thus, the marine sector is flourishing due to the increasing government initiatives and investments in the sector. Thus, the demand for gelcoat to refinish marine parts will also substantially rise, which is anticipated to drive the gelcoat market growth in the Asia Pacific region during the forecast period.
Gelcoat Market Drivers
Flourishing Energy Sector is Driving the Market Growth
Chemical protection and UV resistance properties are increasing the usage of gelcoats in the energy sector. The depletion of conventional sources of energy and the increase in demand for energy, is driving the demand for renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and tidal energy. Also, the rising growth for wind energy equipment and materials is majorly driven by the commitments of the government of India and China towards green energy. For instance, a joint venture (including Toshiba, Hitachi, Zosen Corp and JFE Steel) to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm consisting up to 143 floating turbines, off the Fukushima coast in Japan which will be commissioned after 2025 is anticipated to drive the demand for gelcoats. Additionally, the Indian ministry has earmark 5.0 GW of offshore wind installations by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The protective coating on blades, wind and tidal turbine rotor blade often requires in-mold stable gelcoat. Thus, it is anticipated that with the flourishing energy industry, there will be an upsurge in the demand for gelcoat, which will subsequently drive the gelcoats market growth during the forecast period.
Surging Demand for Gelcoat in Expanding Building and Construction Industry
Gelcoats are used in the building & construction industry as it exhibit exceptional chemical, mechanical, and thermal resistance, resulting in an enduring and vibrant building that retains color and service for longer duration. It also offers outstanding weatherability and fade resistance properties. Thus, with the surging building and construction industry, the need for gelcoats in buildings is estimated to rise. For instance, according to the Dubai Statistics Center (DSC), the total number of completed building construction in the Emirate of Dubai surged from 1,50,605 in 2018 to 1,60,128 in 2019, of which 10,963 was rural oriented and the rest 1,49,165 was urban-oriented. Also, the Chinese construction industry is forecast to grow at an annual average of 5% in real terms between 2019 and 2023, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA). Moreover, the outlook for the European construction industry is positive, according to the European Construction Sector Observatory (ECSO), with growth projected at 3.9 percent annually for 2018-2022 and 2.6 percent for 2023-2027.
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Gelcoat Market Challenges
Health Hazards and Stringent Environmental Regulations Regarding the Use of Gelcoats is Hampering the Market Growth
The dominant monomer in polyester resin-based gelcoats is styrene and high emissions of styrene has been a major concern for the health and safety of people in the workplace. Due to short-term reversible effects of the central nervous system such as somnolence and delayed response time that may be experienced in the workplace from exposure to styrene, the U.S. as a dangerous substance, styrene is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In addition, styrene is one of many TRI (Toxics Release Inventory) substances selected for reporting as a hazardous air pollutant. When released into the air or water, styrene dissipates rapidly. Several rules and regulations have been put in place by governments in different regions to reduce emissions of styrene from resins and gel coatings, thereby reducing their impact on human health and the environment. For instance, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), generally called Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards (MACT) standards, have been established by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). These standards set lower limits to a maximum achievable degree for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) generated by a particular industry. Thus, the health hazards and stringent environmental regulations associated with the use of gelcoats is hindering the market growth.
Gelcoat Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies players adopt in the market. Gelcoats top 10 companies include:
HK Research Corporation
Bufa Composite Systems Gmbh
Allnex, Alpha Owens Corning
Poliya Composites Resins and Polymers
In February 2020, The Polynt Group established its fully owned subsidiary by the name Polynt Composites Turkey. This growth assisted the company in expanding its gelcoat business in Turkey.
In September 2019, Ineos acquired Ashland’s composite business segment that offers gelcoat. The agreement helped the business consolidate its portfolio of products.
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The Asia Pacific region dominates the gelcoat market, owing to the rising growth of the marine industry. For instance, according to Invest India, during January 2021, a total of 161 projects in marine industry, at a cost of US$12 bn have been completed and 178 projects at a cost of INR 1,96,578 Crores (US$ 26,595 million) are under implementation.
Rapidly rising demand for gelcoat in the energy sector for protective coating on wind and tidal turbine rotor blade has driven the growth of the market.
The increasing demand for gelcoat in building & construction sector, due to its chemical, mechanical, and thermal resistance characteristics has been a critical factor driving the growth of the gelcoat market.
However, the health hazards and stringent environmental regulations associated with the use of gelcoats can hinder the growth of the gelcoat market.
A. Epoxy Resin Market
B. Polyurethanes Market
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