According to the academic journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, rodents are not only among the most important global pests, but they destroy enough crop output in Asia alone to feed 200 million people while also acting as reservoirs for disease throughout the world. The journal estimates that there are about 1,700 species of rodents, but only 5% to 10% are considered major pests. According to Kline & Company, the market for chemical rodenticides exceeds $600 million and focuses on an even narrower range of rodent species to generate that market.
According to Mancer Cyr, Senior Associate at Kline & Company, there are four main channels for rodent control and each of these is an end-use onto itself: Agriculture, Professional Pest Control, Consumer Over-the-Counter, and Urban Centers. In most of the world, agriculture and pest control are the primary consumers of rodenticides, but in the United States, the consumer market leads the way, mainly due to the large number of mouse control products sold to homeowners.
Of course, agriculture encompasses multiple segments, including livestock buildings, crops in the field, and crops in storage. Depending on the country, its crops, and its state of development, these segments can vary widely in importance from one to another. Sugar cane and rice are extremely attractive to rodents, according to Cyr, but livestock production offers a steady diet of excess feed to rodents, leading to an uncontrolled population.
Many consumers and urban centers rely increasingly more and more on pest control applicators to handle rodent control, for several valid reasons: the job is unpleasant, the products are complex due to safety designs required by most governments, and the application requires technical expertise to do it correctly.
Urban centers, especially those in less developed areas, often have a greater need for rodent control, but generally do not have the resources to accomplish this. In these cases, homeowners may be left to fend for themselves or the governments may retain the services of pest control firms to handle the job.
Clearly, in an industry of this size, there are many opportunities for growth. According to Kline, the competitive landscape is quite fragmented, with 155 different supplier firms. Of these, the top 19 account for 60% of industry sales. The top tier of these leaders are either multinational rodenticide specialists, such as Reckitt Benckiser, Bell Laboratories, or its sister company Motomco, or they are global agrochemical makers, such as BASF, Bayer, or Syngenta, offering rodent control as part of their pest control offering.
Within every country a strong group of local suppliers acts as distributors or formulators for the majors and marketers of their own brands of rodent control alongside the offerings of the major industry players.
Regulations also affect growth. For example, rodenticides have been targeted by most governments in recent years because of the tendency for children and animals to come into accidental contact with the bait. It is not possible to generalize across 20 countries, but global regulations have taken three main directions: 1) eliminating certain active ingredients, 2) requiring products to be packaged in complex trap and bait systems that prevent accidental contact but still lure the target pest, and 3) promoting non-chemical trap and glueboard product options.
The impact of regulation seems to be positive for the major players with strong research and development and extensive field technical sales forces. These firms are able to develop and launch new products to meet the regulatory directives. Smaller local companies will likely have to rely more on distribution or local formulation activities than they may have in the past. Kline sees market share shifts in favor of consolidation around multinationals in the future.
In addition, revenue growth is expected to originate from the higher priced products that are being introduced to comply with safety regulations.
The global outlook for growth depends on the region. Kline predicts 3% growth across the board, but with the strongest growth from Asia, where India leads the way to a pace approaching 6% per year. As far as growth segments, agriculture is the leader. Of course, the effect of regulatory action is that active ingredient choices are becoming somewhat more limited. “It is amazing,” says Dennis Fugate, Industry Manager at Kline, “that this level of sales is attained using a very short list of about 10 active ingredients, with just two, brodifacoum and bromadiolone, accounting for over 60% of global sales.”
Kline has recently completed Global Rodent Control: Market Analysis and Opportunities , which provides an accurate and independent appraisal of the current business environment, market size and segmentation of products used, product cost, and market trends in the rodent control markets. This report provides suppliers of rodenticides and traps with the latest information on market size and product usage for these products in 20 countries in five global regions: North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, Europe/Africa, and North America. In addition, Cyr announced that he will be conducting a new webinar in this vibrant market on March 26. For more information on the webinar, please click here.