Market Size (2022)
USD 1.85 billion
Fastest Growing Segment
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.