Report Description


Forecast Period


Market Size (2022)

USD 1.85 billion

CAGR (2023-2028)


Fastest Growing Segment

Building & Construction

Largest Market

Asia Pacific


Market Overview

Global Waterborne Polyurethane Market has valued at USD 1.85 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to project robust growth in the forecast period with a CAGR of 4.32% through 2028. Waterborne polyurethane, a versatile material used in various applications, is produced by dispersing polyurethane polymer resins in water. Composed of hexamethylene diisocyanate, polystyrene, carbamate, and other chemicals, waterborne polyurethane is favored for its low volatile organic compounds (VOC) content, making it an environmentally friendly choice for water-based paints, coatings, adhesives, and ink binders.

The growth of the building and construction sector has been a significant driver for the expansion of the waterborne polyurethane market. However, the industry faced challenges in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in shortages of raw materials, restrictions on labor movement, and other limitations. These factors negatively impacted the growth of the waterborne polyurethane industry.

On a positive note, in 2021, the market has witnessed a resurgence in production activities. Economic stimulus packages, the easing of Covid-related regulations, and other favorable factors have contributed to the market's recovery. Additionally, the transportation industry's strengthening will further drive the demand for waterborne polyurethane, promising a bright future for the market's expansion in the coming years.

Key Market Drivers

Growing Demand of Waterborne Polyurethane from Automotive Industry

Waterborne polyurethane (WPU) plays a crucial and ever-expanding role in the automotive industry due to its unique and exceptional properties. With its excellent abrasion resistance, high flexibility, superior adhesion, and remarkable low-temperature performance, WPU has become the ideal choice for a wide range of automotive applications, including coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers.

Automotive coatings, in particular, stand out as one of the primary applications of WPU in the automotive industry. These coatings not only enhance the appearance of vehicles but also provide essential protection against the unforgiving elements of the environment, corrosion, and the daily wear and tear of everyday use.

Moreover, WPUs are extensively used as adhesives and sealants in various automotive applications, both inside and outside the vehicle, as well as under-the-hood. The strong bonding and sealing capabilities of WPU contribute significantly to the overall durability, safety, and longevity of vehicles.

The demand for waterborne polyurethane in the automotive industry continues to grow, driven by several factors. Firstly, there is an increasing trend towards lightweight vehicles to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. WPU-based materials, being lighter than their traditional counterparts, align perfectly with this trend, offering a viable solution.

Secondly, the automotive industry places a growing emphasis on vehicle aesthetics and durability. As WPU provides high-quality finishes and excellent protection against external factors, it is increasingly preferred for automotive coatings, ensuring vehicles maintain their impeccable appearance for longer periods.

Thirdly, stringent environmental regulations are pushing the automotive industry towards more sustainable solutions. WPU-based products have lower volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions compared to solvent-based alternatives, making them a more environmentally friendly choice for automotive applications.

In conclusion, the growing demand from the automotive industry serves as a significant driver for the global waterborne polyurethane market. As the automotive industry continues to focus on lightweight vehicles, aesthetic appeal, durability, and sustainability, the demand for WPU-based products is expected to increase further. This trend, combined with ongoing technological advancements in WPU formulations, not only ensures a bright future for the global waterborne polyurethane market but also contributes to the overall progress and sustainability of the automotive industry as a whole.

Growing Demand of Waterborne Polyurethane from Construction Industry

Waterborne polyurethane (WPU) plays a pivotal role in the construction sector due to its exceptional properties. It provides excellent abrasion resistance, high flexibility, superior adhesion, and weatherability, making it an optimal choice for various applications within the construction industry, including coatings, sealants, and adhesives.

WPU-based coatings are commonly used in construction for flooring systems, wall finishes, and waterproofing applications. They offer a high-quality finish, durability, and protection against environmental factors and wear and tear. These coatings not only enhance the aesthetics of the structures but also contribute significantly to their longevity.

Moreover, WPUs serve as adhesives and sealants in numerous construction applications. They deliver strong bonding capabilities and excellent sealing properties, ensuring the overall durability and integrity of the structures. Whether it is bonding different materials or sealing joints and gaps, WPU-based adhesives and sealants provide reliable performance.

Several factors are driving the increasing demand for waterborne polyurethane in the construction industry. Firstly, there is a growing trend towards green buildings and sustainable construction practices. WPU-based products, with their low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions compared to solvent-based products, align well with this sustainability drive. Contractors and builders are increasingly opting for environmentally-friendly materials to meet the stringent requirements of green certifications.

Secondly, the construction industry is placing a greater emphasis on durability and aesthetics. WPU-based coatings offer high-quality finishes, excellent protective capabilities, and long-lasting performance, making them a preferred choice for many constructors. The ability of WPU to withstand harsh weather conditions, resist abrasion, and maintain its appearance over time is highly valued in the construction sector.

Lastly, rapid urbanization and the subsequent rise in construction activities worldwide are creating a higher demand for construction materials, including WPU. As cities expand, there is a need for reliable, versatile, and sustainable solutions to meet the increasing infrastructure demands. WPU-based products, with their wide range of applications and superior performance, are well-suited to address these requirements.

In conclusion, the escalating demand from the construction industry is a significant driver for the global waterborne polyurethane market. As the industry continues to focus on sustainable practices, durability, aesthetics, and coping with rapid urbanization, the demand for WPU-based products is expected to rise further. This trend, coupled with ongoing advancements in WPU formulations, signals promising growth prospects for the global waterborne polyurethane market. With its exceptional properties and versatility, WPU continues to be a key material in shaping the future of the construction industry.

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Key Market Challenges

Volatility in Prices of Raw Materials

Waterborne polyurethane is primarily derived from crude oil-based raw materials, specifically isocyanates and polyols. These key components play a crucial role in the manufacturing process of polyurethane. However, it is important to note that the cost of these raw materials, particularly ethylene carbonate, is susceptible to frequent fluctuations.

The prices of these raw materials are directly influenced by crude oil prices, which are notoriously known for their volatility. Various factors such as geopolitical tensions, natural disasters, economic instability, and changes in production levels by oil-producing countries can cause significant fluctuations in oil prices.

When crude oil prices experience an upward surge, the costs of the raw materials used in waterborne polyurethane production also increase, leading to higher production costs for manufacturers. Conversely, when oil prices decline, manufacturers may face challenges in immediately reducing their prices due to existing inventory or contractual agreements. This situation can impact their competitiveness and overall profitability.

The inherent price volatility creates a sense of uncertainty for manufacturers, making it challenging for them to effectively plan and manage their operations. Furthermore, it directly affects their pricing strategies and profit margins, ultimately influencing the overall growth and development of the waterborne polyurethane market.

In addition to price volatility, the recyclability of polyurethanes poses another significant challenge. The recycling process of polyurethane products is complex and often comes with additional costs, further adding to the overall expenses for manufacturers.

In conclusion, while the demand for waterborne polyurethane continues to experience substantial growth, the volatility in raw material prices presents a significant challenge for the market. To mitigate this risk, manufacturers will need to explore alternative raw materials, enhance process efficiency, or invest in recycling technologies. Despite these challenges, the market's potential remains robust, supported by the increasing demand from various end-use industries. By addressing these issues, manufacturers can adapt and thrive in this evolving market landscape.

Key Market Trends

Increased Advancements in Formulations

Waterborne polyurethane (WPU) is highly regarded for its exceptional properties, including high flexibility, superior adhesion, and excellent abrasion resistance. However, researchers and manufacturers are constantly striving to further enhance these properties and broaden the application scope of WPUs. This relentless pursuit has resulted in significant advancements in WPU formulation, rendering them more efficient and adaptable to a wide range of industries and applications.

One notable breakthrough in the field of WPU development is the creation of low volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting WPUs. These environmentally friendly products align perfectly with the growing demand for sustainable solutions across various industries. The emphasis on sustainability and reduced environmental impact has driven the market towards greener alternatives, making low VOC WPUs a preferred choice.

Moreover, continuous advancements in WPU formulations have led to the creation of products with improved durability, weatherability, and chemical resistance. These enhanced properties have expanded the use of WPUs to challenging environments, such as construction and automotive applications. The construction industry, in particular, has witnessed a surge in the adoption of WPU-based products due to their ability to withstand harsh conditions and provide long-lasting performance.

The trend towards green buildings and sustainable construction practices further fuels the demand for advanced WPU formulations. As the construction and automotive sectors prioritize durability and aesthetics, the need for high-performance WPUs continues to grow. This demand has paved the way for ongoing research and development activities, which are expected to result in further advancements in WPU formulations. These continuous efforts in research and development not only contribute to the expansion of the WPU market but also drive future market growth.

In conclusion, the waterborne polyurethane market is experiencing a significant trend towards increased advancements in formulations. These advancements not only enhance the properties of WPUs but also broaden their application scope. With the continuous focus on research and development, the future of the WPU market appears promising. As WPUs continue to evolve and offer improved performance, they will play a crucial role in various industries, meeting the demand for sustainable and high-quality solutions.

Segmental Insights

Product Type Insights

Based on the category of product type, the single-component polyurethane segment emerged as the dominant player in the global market for Waterborne Polyurethane in 2022. Single-component polyurethanes are highly favored for their remarkable ease of use and remarkable convenience. Unlike other products, they can be effortlessly applied directly onto surfaces without the hassle of mixing or extensive preparation. This makes them exceptionally versatile, finding their application in a wide range of industries including coatings, adhesives, and sealants. With their seamless integration and efficient performance, single-component polyurethanes continue to be the go-to-choice for professionals seeking reliable and effective solutions.

End User Insights

The building & construction segment is projected to experience rapid growth during the forecast period. Waterborne polyurethane offers numerous advantages, making it a preferred choice in building and construction applications such as flooring, roofing, and more. With its temperature curing, superior adhesion, and high strength properties, waterborne polyurethane ensures exceptional durability.

The growing demand for affordable housing and increased need for commercial space are key factors driving the growth of the building and construction industry. For instance, in Q3 of 2021, Germany witnessed the initiation of several office development projects, including the Markisches Zentrum Redevelopment (completion year Q4 2023), Minden Headquarters Building (completion year Q3 2024), Kolbenhoefe Mixed-Use Complex (completion year Q4 2023), and others.

Furthermore, according to the United States Census Bureau, in 2021, there was a significant increase of 16.7% in the total number of new residential construction projects started in the USA, totaling 1,610 thousand units as compared to 2020. This surge in construction activities further propels the demand for waterborne polyurethane-based paints, coatings, adhesives, and more.

As a result, the Waterborne Polyurethane Market is experiencing accelerated growth, driven by the expanding building and construction industry and the need for durable and high-performance materials.