How the North American SLP Market Benefited from COVID-19

How the North American SLP Market Benefited from COVID-19

The synthetic latex polymer (SLP) market in North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico) continues to benefit from trends that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The shift from retail to e-commerce witnessed during the pandemic remains a significant positive for the packaging adhesives, packaging paper, and inks industries — all of which utilize SLPs. The growing demand for alternate energy such as wind and solar, as well as the increased interest in energy-efficient buildings, is driving solid consumption of SLPs in the construction, adhesives and sealants, and glass fiber markets.  

Noticeable trends and advancements are similarly being witnessed in the North American paints industry, including increased demand in the industrial sector for paint that provides thermal and electrical conductivity, in addition to paint that offers chemical resistance, rapid curing, and faster drying. Eco-friendly paints are also advancing in the North American market, due to the region’s growing demand for both low-VOC (volatile organic compound) formulations and antimicrobial/antiviral paints.  

The North American region, overtaken only recently by China, is the second-leading market for SLPs, garnering close to 25% of global consumption. The United States dominates the region’s SLP market, with key contrasts evident between the United States and Mexican markets. For example, while the shift from solvent- to water-based emulsions is now mature in the United States, this trend continues strongly in Mexico. In addition, the United States market is quality- and innovation-conscious, while the Mexican market tends to be price-sensitive. Further, the United States and Mexico have distinctly different end-use markets. The former is the clear leader for most end uses; the latter, however, is the dominant producer of leather products, consuming three-quarters of the synthetic latex volume for leather in the region. 

The North American markets were also negatively affected by COVID-19, with Mexico taking the hardest hit due to the pandemic’s impact on the country’s export-dependent leather industry. The carpet, glass fiber, and construction markets experienced setbacks across the North American region. Disposable nonwovens, however, benefited from the soaring need for hygiene products during the pandemic, as did glove dipping, particularly from medical gloves. Architectural paints have also witnessed advances, driven by the DIY (do-it-yourself) home-decorating trend witnessed during the COVID-19 lockdowns. 

The United States and Canada, both of which are mature markets, will see slow overall growth in SLPs over the next few years, with gains expected to come from the glass fiber, construction, and paint industries. Consumption in the carpet and paper industries is also projected to decline in both countries. Mexico is expected to be the fastest-growing country in the North American region for SLPs; the nation’s leather industry is strongly rebounding, as are its glass fiber and construction markets. 

Redispersible powders are forecast to register significant gains in North America, owing to reduced logistics costs and easier handling. In the United States and Canada, pure acrylics will witness the strongest growth, driven by the increasing demand for higher-quality formulations across the different industries. In Mexico, polyurethane dispersions are expected to show robust gains due to their increasing presence in the country’s leather market.

For more information on the subject, be on the lookout for Kline’s Synthetic Latex Polymers: North America Business Analysis and Opportunities report. A comprehensive analysis of the complex market of synthetic latex polymers for key applications, it provides a detailed assessment of market size, competitive landscape, trends, and opportunities for all major and minor synthetic latex polymers. 

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