Specialty Paper Market: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the specialty paper market, and found out the trends for each product segment, the trends at market players, and the future outlook. This press release focuses on the market on the specialty paper for industrial use.
The specialty paper market had enjoyed stable demand by the solid customer base owing to its value-added quality products. Having a wide range of application segments including printing, industrial use, food packaging, medicinal/pharmaceutical and building material, the market held somewhat firmly and was able to adapt to volatile demands.
Meanwhile, as the basic paper for newsprints and printing papers for instance has been on the decline due to the fundamental changes in demand structure, the specialty paper for printing is similarly disrupted. Severity of the market environment for functional industrial paper has become more intense due to the hollowing out of the industry led by production offshoring, the drastically changing demand environment, the penetration of price competitive import products, and the fierce competition with local manufacturers in overseas operation.
Size of the market of functional industrial paper in FY2018 (based on shipment at domestic manufacturers) is estimated to have totaled 145,071tons, 101.4% of the previous fiscal year. Although the level of growth as before cannot be expected, the domestic market overall for water-resistant and hard-to-tear synthetic paper still boasts 3.3% increase from the previous fiscal year, mainly attributed to the adhesive labels that gained customer traction for its functionality. The synthetic paper market may continue to develop hereafter if it can generate new demands in emerging applications through optimization of its functionalities, and by adding the functionality further by coating (technology). The chip carrier base tape paper performed well due to higher demand for electronic components in areas such as smartphones, in-vehicle condensers and resistance unit. Nevertheless, since demand for the electronic parts in FY2019 is expected to decrease, the industrial functional paper market may also be negatively impacted.
Manufacturers’ Strategies for “Paper-instead-of-Plastic”
As concerns grow internationally on the marine pollution caused by plastic packaging not disposed of correctly, movements toward “plastic-free” is intensified; leading players in the specialty papers market have begun to embody the demand (providing alternatives to plastic derived from petroleum). To use the changes in the market environment as opportunities, the manufacturers are starting to put “paper-instead-of-plastic” strategy into action with new and current products, replacing plastic with specialty papers. Offering of the eco-friendly specialty papers as alternatives to plastic is promoted by the leading manufacturers such as Nippon Paper Industries, Oji Holdings and Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd, followed by other makers like Rengo Co., Ltd, Daio Paper Corporation, Hokuetsu Corporation, and Chuetsu Pulp & Paper.
With the change in demand structure triggered by the Lehman shock, the specialty paper market overall cannot expect significant growth. Diversification in customer needs and maturation/commoditization of existing segments are notable.
Under such circumstances, development of the next-generation materials is on the rise particularly among leading paper manufacturers. The latest trend gaining momentum in the paper manufacturing industry is the pioneering development of the CNF (Cellulose Nano Fiber), which is led by major paper makers such as Nippon Paper Industries, Oji Holdings, Hokuetsu Corporation, Chuetsu Pulp & Paper, and Daio Paper Corporation. In addition, market development for replacing plastic with specialty papers is also becoming noteworthy.
Key for success in the specialty paper business hereafter will be application development and R&D on new products; it will be critical for the manufacturers to be attentive to the end-use market demands.
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