The adhesives market totals more than $50 billion across all applications globally. Although it is dominated by existing major brands selling into established markets, a confluence of mega trends — such as vehicle electrification, advanced tech, and circular economy practices — is driving large shifts in those markets.
This creates new opportunities for innovation and growth but also potential threats to long-standing products and suppliers. This is according to new analysis from Lux Research, a provider of tech-enabled research and innovation advisory services.
Lux’s new report, Advanced Adhesives Opportunity Forecast, examines the market opportunities and value propositions for a range of adhesives innovations to provide a guide on the most promising opportunities.
Lux identifies and examines these four mega trends that are changing how adhesives are developed, selected, and used across all industries:
1. 3D printing: Additive manufacturing of end parts using new materials and material combinations, with changing design principles
2. Circular economy: The demand for sustainability is changing product and packaging design to reduce resource consumption and plan for the end of life
3. Materials informatics: Software-driven formulation development and materials selection
4. Industrial internet of things (IIoT): Intelligent devices and increasingly connected facilities are changing construction, repair, and monitoring needs
“The adhesives market is a mature space, dominated by existing major brands selling into established industries, and for many years, innovation in adhesives has largely been modest and incremental,” explains Anthony Vicari, analyst at Lux Research and lead author of the report. “While a number of startups and research groups have been developing some novel solutions, adoption by major players remains slow.’
Vicari added: “Now, however, these concurrent global mega trends are beginning to bring novel challenges that demand deeper innovation in adhesives to address.”
Incumbent adhesives companies have continued to effectively deliver on operational innovation, maintaining, and updating a wide spectrum of products across many markets as those markets grow and diversify.
However, there has been little in the way of higher-risk, higher-reward expansive innovation that would transform how adhesives are developed and used, how adhesives companies operate, and what business models make money.
Many of the opportunities for adhesives in the coming years will require this kind of deeper innovation, focused on the emerging needs and demands of specific customers, as well as use cases. In a number of cases, this change will also have to go hand in hand with business model changes to capture the full potential of these expansive opportunities.
Developers will need to explore services and solutions to stay ahead of the curve and maintain margins and competitive advantage.