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Breathable Films and Membranes Market size is forecast to reach US$3.2 Billion by 2027, after growing at a CAGR of 6.1% during 2022-2027. Breathable films and membranes are thin and microporous films made up of polymers such as polypropylene, polyethylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, and others, that are permeable to gases but are impervious to liquids. Breathable films and membranes are used in the surgeon’s garments as a barrier membrane to dust or biohazards, allowing perspiration to escape in skin adhesion applications. The increasing usage of premium hygiene products with growing health & hygiene concerns among people, made up of breathable films and membranes in developing countries, is driving the market growth. Also, rising R&D investments for the growing significance of raw materials with properties such as wear & tear resistance, lightweight, comfort, and higher heat resistance for the apparel of work, and technological advancements, will further incline the demand for breathable films and membranes. Furthermore, the increasing demand for breathable films & membranes in the food and beverage industry is anticipated to boost the market during the forecast period.
The COVID 19 outbreak widely affected the building and construction, food & beverage, and chemical industries over 2020. Owing to nationwide lockdown, the production process of various goods in these industries declined due to the non-functioning of the manufacturing plants. Economies of each sector got affected and resulted in stagnation of activities across the sectors that use breathable films & membranes. Business communities even faced several issues related to raw material shortage, labor shortage, temporary closure of operations, supply chain disturbance, and many more. However, rising demand for healthcare products emerged as a driving factor for the breathable films & membranes market, increasing PPE kits, masks, equipment, and others during these challenging times.
Breathable Films & Membranes Market Segment Analysis – By Material Type
The polyurethane segment held the largest share in the breathable films & membranes market in 2021. Breathable polyurethane films are majorly used in the medical sector. These films are adopted for surgical drapes, table & bed covers, surgical gloves, and patient gowns. They have better liquid barriers than other microporous breathable films such as polypropylene due to their monolithic property. Additionally, these films & membranes also have good mechanical characteristics such as processability, elasticity, abrasion resistance, permeability, high durability, and low-temperature flexibility. Thus, with the rising demand for polyurethane in the medical sector, the market for breathable films & membranes is further projected to rise over the forecast period.
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Breathable Films & Membranes Market Segment Analysis – By Membrane Type
The hydrophilic membranes segment held the largest share in the breathable films & membranes market in 2021. Hydrophilic membranes are applicable in apparel, including emergency service wear, sports, athletic equipment, and industrial clothing. Hydrophilic membranes are lightweight and long-lasting, keep wearers warm and dry, and are easy to apply in different applications, such as coats, gloves, shoes, and overalls. Also, a membrane of hydrophilic polyurethane is generally incorporated with micro-porous based breathable fabrics. Thus, with the growth of the hydrophilic membranes segment, the market for breathable films & membranes will further rise over the forecast period.
Breathable Films & Membranes Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The Sanitary napkins segment held the largest share in the breathable films & membranes market in 2021. Breathable films & membranes made up of polymers such as polypropylene, polyethylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, and others are primarily used in hygiene products such as disposable baby diapers and disposable adult diapers, and disposable sanitary napkins. These films provide better skin breathability, reduce skin rashes and sores, and improve comfort using back sheet material. Increasing investments by the government in sanitary napkins will drive the market growth, for instance, according to the project profile on Sanitary Napkin Pads Manufacture, prepared by MSME – Development Institute, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Government of India, in 2020, planned to invest Rs.81 Lakhs (USD 108 thousand) (per annum) for a quantity of 13,50,000 packets per year. Thus, such investments will drive the demand for sanitary napkins application in both developing and developed countries and would raise the growth of the breathable films & membranes market over the forecast period.
Breathable Films & Membranes Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The hygiene and personal care industry held the largest share in the breathable films & membranes market in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% during 2022-2027. In the hygiene and personal care industry, breathable films & membranes are used in numerous applications such as protective apparel for medical activities, baby diapers, sanitary napkins, sanitary towels, and others. In recent years, with the rising awareness regarding health & hygiene, the demand for breathable films & membranes is also rising. The need for breathable films & membranes is increasing rapidly in emerging economies with growing health concerns among people and the rise in hospitals in India, the United States, China, and other countries. Also, the rising need for disposable hygiene products and the growing adoption of female hygienic products in developing countries will drive the market for premium hygiene products. For instance, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in 2020, the government legislated the provision of free sanitary materials in schools through the Education Amendment Act. In addition, for hygienic materials for girls, the Minister of Finance made a budgetary allocation. Thus, with the growth of the hygiene and personal care sector, the market for breathable films & membranes will further rise over the forecast period.
Breathable Films & Membranes Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
The Asia-Pacific region dominated the breathable films & membranes market with a share of 38% in 2021. APAC region is one of the leading breathable films & membranes manufacturers globally, with China and India being the key consumers and suppliers of breathable films & membranes. Breathable films & membranes made up of polymers such as polypropylene, polyethylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, and others, are used in surgical gowns, roofing, food packaging, agricultural films, and others. The rising growth of several end-use industries such as building & construction, chemical, hygiene & personal care, in healthcare & medical and others, has uplifted the development of the breathable films & membranes market. For instance, according to Invest Indian, the Indian healthcare market is expected to reach US$ 372 billion by 2022 from US$190 billion in 2020. In the APAC region, demand for breathable films & membranes with added value is growing substantially. Thus, the rising usage of breathable films & membranes in various end-use industries will drive the market growth in the forecast period.
Breathable Films & Membranes Market Drivers
Increasing Demand for Breathable Films & Membranes in the Food and Beverage Industry
In the food and beverage industry, breathable films and membranes find usage in packaging applications. Various packaging technologies have been developed to meet packaged products’ convenience, comfort, safe use, and fresh quality. Breathable films and membranes provide many advantages, such as minimizing the accumulation of CO2 in packaging, causing anaerobiosis originating from it, and the automatic release of steam in a microwave. Other benefits of these packaging include an attractive appearance without fogging, improved gas exchange in the package, extension of the product shelf life, and loss reduction during processing and logistics. The increasing growth of the food and beverage industry will drive the demand for breathable films and membranes. For instance, according to the China Chain Store & Franchise Association, China’s food and beverage (F&B) sector reached approximately US$595 billion in 2019, with a 7.8 percent increase over 2018. Thus, with the growth of the food and beverage sector, the market for breathable films and membranes will further rise over the forecast period.
High Growth Rate of Building & Construction Industry
In the building and construction industry, breathable films and membranes find usage in numerous applications such as roofs and walls to prevent excessive moisture accumulation, retain heat, provide vapor insulation, wind barrier, waterproofing, and others. With the rising building and construction activities, the demand for breathable films and membranes is also rising. The building and construction activities are increasing rapidly in emerging economies such as India, United States, China, and other countries. For instance, according to the World Bank, in 2020, the building and construction industry reached US$ 11.9 trillion, with an increase of about 4.2% from 2019. Furthermore, according to Invest India, by 2025, the building and construction industry is expected to reach US$ 1.4 trillion. Thus, with the construction sector’s growth, the market for breathable films and membranes will further rise over the forecast period.
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Breathable Films & Membranes Market Challenges
Diapers and Sanitary Napkins Related Health and Environmental Effects Will Hamper the Breathable Films and Membranes Market Growth
Traditional diapers and sanitary napkins can take several years to decompose, and they do not also degrade in a landfill, well enough. The untreated waste is added to the landfills every year in large amounts, also polluting the groundwater through plastic diapers. Additionally, disposable diapers and sanitary napkins also comprise several chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate, dyes, fragrances, tributyl-tin, volatile organic compounds, dioxins, and others, which can have an adverse health effect. Itching can be caused by these chemicals and other health-related issues such as hormone interferences, damaged immunity, respiratory problems, cancer, and others. Thus, increasing ecological and health effects with the rising usage of breathable films and membranes in diapers and sanitary napkins will create hurdles for the market’s growth.
Breathable Films & Membranes Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies players adopt in the breathable films & membranes markets. Major players in the breathable films & membranes market include:
Berry Global Group
DSM Engineering Plastics
In Jan 2020, Berry Global Group, Inc. announced an expansion in its North American capacity for sustainable, breathable films to meet the growing market demands in the north american region, for hygiene and healthcare products.
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The Asia Pacific dominates the breathable films & membranes market owing to the rising growth and increasing investments in the building & construction industry. For instance, according to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), till December 2020, FDI in the construction industry stood at US$ 23.99 billion.
Rapidly rising demand for breathable films & membranes for packaging purposes in the food & beverage industry is estimated to drive the market growth over the forecast period.
Increasing demand for breathable films & membranes with the surging demand for protective apparel in the pharmaceutical & medical industry is a critical factor that would drive the market’s growth in the upcoming years.
However, rising environmental and health effects due to the excessive use of hygiene products can hinder the growth of the breathable films & membranes market.
A. Breathable Films Market
B. PU Films Market
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