Sodium sulfate, commonly called as soda of sulfate, typically is found in a crystalline form. It is mainly used in large quantities in several consumer and industrial applications. It is generally obtained by processing mirabilite salt. Artificial sodium sulfate is manufactured by using lithium batteries and other artificial processes. It is manufactured across the globe in large quantities in order to cater to the growing demand from a variety of end user application industries such as carpet cleaners, glass, textiles, kraft pulping, and detergents among others.
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Over half of the total volume of produced sodium sulfate is consumed in the detergent industry. This is because sodium sulfate is used as a filler material in such detergents. Cheap price of the raw materials is the key factor that is helping to drive the overall demand for global sodium sulfate in the detergent industry. In commercial sense, sodium sulfate is deployed as a dyeing agent. Sodium sulfate lowers the negative charges of fabrics. Thus, the dyeing process becomes easier and effective. This, in turns, drives the application of sodium sulfate in the textiles industry. Growth of the global textiles industry is boosting the usage of sodium sulfate as a dyeing agent. Furthermore, sodium sulfate is employed in the glass manufacturing process. It is used as fining agent in the manufacture of scum-proof glass. Demand for dust or scum-proof glass is driven by the growth in automotive and infrastructure sectors. Sodium sulfate is also used to convert wood into pulp for paper manufacturing.
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During the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the global sodium sulfate market struggled initially. The struggles were mainly because of the restrictions placed on logistics, transport, and manufacturing. However, with governments deeming detergents and other key application products as essential for survival during the lockdown, the demand increased steadily. The market is expected to witness a steady demand in the upcoming year with higher growth rate expected by the second half of 2021.
Global Sodium Sulfate Market: Overview
The global sodium sulfate market is fragmented in nature on account of the presence of numerous global and local players. The market is being primarily driven by the soap and detergent industry. Apart from that, an ever-growing automotive and construction industry is also serving to catalyze growth in the market by driving demand for glass, which requires sodium sulfate as a fluxing agent in glass refining.
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Hampering demand in the sodium sulfate market, on the flipside, is the emergence of substitute compounds such as zeolites, sodium silicates, emulsified sulphur and caustic soda, and sodium carbonate (soda ash) in various end-use industries.
A report by Transparency Market Research predicts the global sodium sulfate market to attain a value of US$2.62 bn by 2025 from US$1.89 bn in 2016 by rising at a CAGR of 3.8% from 2017 to 2025.
Natural Sodium Sulfate Dominates Market
Sources of sodium sulfate can be broadly divided into synthetic and natural. At present, about half the sodium sulfate in the world is produced from natural mines and the remaining half is recovered from industrial processes. Current reserves of natural sodium sulfate are sufficient to satisfy the required demand for several centuries because of the current rate of production. Between the two, sodium sulfate derived from natural sources dominates the market with a leading share both in terms of volume and value. In the years ahead too, the segment is expected to hold on to its leading share by expanding at a CAGR of 4% during period from 2017 to 2025.
Sodium sulfate finds application in making soaps and detergents, kraft pulping, textiles, glass, carpet cleaners, and others such as food preservatives, oil recovery, etc. Of them, the detergent and soaps, in which sodium sulfate is used as a diluting agent and fillers, generate maximum demand. However, the demand has begun to decline due to the trend towards concentrated liquid detergents instead of bulkier powder formulations.
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Powered by Record Consumption in China, Asia Pacific Leads Market
From a geographical standpoint, Asia Pacific runs the show on both counts of size and growth rate. In 2016, it held about half the share in the market and in the years ahead too is predicted to retain its dominant share. The market in the region is being driven primarily by China, which surpasses all other countries in terms of sodium sulfate consumption. This is also because of the cheaper cost of sodium sulfur in the nation on account of lower manufacturing costs resulting from abundance of labor and expanding end-use industries. By registering the maximum CAGR of 4.0% in the forecast period, the region is projected to grow its revenue to US$1.55 bn.
In terms of growth rate, Latin America is another key region that is expected to outshine North America and Europe in the next couple of years, on the back of Mexico, which has enormous reserves of sodium sulfate. The market in Europe and North America is expected to rise a slower pace – a CAGR of 3.3% and 3.0%, respectively – due to liquid detergents supplanting powder detergents at a rapid pace.
Alkim Alkali Kimya A.S., Birla Cellulose, Cordenka GmbH & Co. KG, Cooper Natural Resources, Elementis plc, Lenzing Group, Minera De Santa Marta, S.A., Searles Valley Minerals, Saskatchewan Mining and Minerals Inc., Grupo Industrial Crimidesa S.L., Soda? Sodium Sanayii Anonim Sirketi, and XinLi Chemical are to name a few prominent participants in the global sodium sulfate market.
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