Global demand for water disinfection products is projected to increase 7.4
percent annually to $7.4 billion in 2012, according to a study by The Freedonia Group (www.freedoniagroup.com). Overall, the study predicts growth will be fastest in China, India and other developing countries, particularly those with large industrial sectors. Growth is expected to be substantial in nearly every region, although the underlying reasons for growth can vary widely.
The study, titled World Water Disinfection, shows the United States will register healthy growth due to upgrades of disinfection techniques in an otherwise mature market. This will be a continuation of a longstanding trend favoring better performing specialty chemicals at the expense of chlorine and other commodities. Municipal water treatment operators have begun to use chloramines and other chemicals that allow for reductions in disinfection byproducts. Additionally, the study says these same motivations are prompting greater adoption of UV and ozone disinfection, which are often used in tandem with chlorine or other chemicals.
Growth in Mexico, on the other hand, will be driven by continued efforts to expand and improve access to safe water supplies and sanitation infrastructure, according to Freedonia. In developing countries, such as China, India, Brazil and Russia, growth in disinfection products will be based on dramatic expansions in the use of relatively traditional techniques and products. Industrialization in many of these areas will also drive growth for higher value specialty biocides. Western Europe and Japan are fairly comparable to the United States in terms of the level of maturity of their respective water infrastructures and level of technological sophistication, although there are some differences. Western Europe has been an earlier adopter of nonchemical disinfection techniques and has become less reliant on chlorine. Moreover, neither Western Europe nor Japan are nearly as large a market for recreational water treatment as the United States, according to Freedonia.
The municipal water segment is projected to register the best growth, as there will be some level of growth in nearly every country, due to expansions or upgrades of water infrastructures, particularly in the wastewater segment. The industrial segment will register more modest growth due to the maturity of the largest industrial markets, but will be fueled by advances in developing industrial powers. The recreational segment will post the slowest growth, due to the maturity of the larger, more affluent markets that account for most of the world’s sales.