A Succinct Outline of Chemicals and Advanced Materials Market in the Face of Digital Disruption

April 03, 2018

Chemicals and advanced materials market, in the true sense, has been observing a renewed dimension recently, on virtue of the continuously changing business ecosystem and declining viability of conventional materials. Global mega trends including the likes of feedstock volatility, and push to sustainability are bringing new complexity in the industry. Specialty and advanced chemical businesses are increasingly becoming segregated, which on a broader spectrum is imposing pressure on the existing product portfolio. As a result, potential contenders in the industrial realm have been extensively orienting themselves toward innovation. Chemicals and advanced materials industry, often form the core of many such technological advances across varied industry domains.

Recognizing the dire necessity of materials development amidst the dynamically changing business landscape, advanced materials market players are highly backing on product innovation via collaborative approach. In this regard, it is prudent to mention that the World Economic Forum has been working diligently toward promoting collaborative innovations within the business space over the past few years. This non-profit organization via various encouraging initiatives such as Biotechnology Ecosphere, Energy Harnessing, AMS (Advanced Materials Systems) Framework, and the like is aptly shaping chemicals and advanced materials market trends with better opportunities and profitability scope. Of course, the true potential of the industry, as per experts’ opinion, would require a collective effort from governments, academia, and specialists present in the business space.

How digital disruption is stimulating chemicals and advanced materials market trends?

Chemicals and advanced materials industry is rather claimed to be a key enabler of Fourth Industrial Revolution. Since the business space is closely hinged to myriad end-use domains such as automotive, consumer electronics, and plastics sectors, its contributions allow these sectors to upgrade their product portfolio supporting digitalization. Not to mention, the changing trends of these domains, would invariably leave a positive impact on the marketplace.  Below mentioned are some examples of products from chemicals and advanced materials industry which are widely used in today’s key technologies.


Growth rate

Products from chemicals and advanced materials

Electric Vehicles

Annual sales of EVs by 2020 to reach 4.9 million

Plastics, battery technologies, and composites

Smart phones and tablets

Mobile devices in Use

2015: 8.6 billion

2020: 12.1 billion


Substrate, transparent conductor, backplane, photoresists and barrier films.


Market Size

2015: USD10.1 billion

2020: USD 14.9 billion

Composites, Plastics, and battery technologies

High Speed internet

Fixed Broadband Speed

2015:24.7 Mbps

2020: 47.7 Mbps

Chlorosilane - Ultrapure Glass

Flexible Displays (eg. Wearable devices, TVs, etc.)

Market for AMOLED displays

2016: USD 2 billion

2020: USD 18 billion

Substrate, transparent conductor, backplane



The overall industry itself, is expected to be massively influenced by the digitalization wave. New technologies are continuously being introduced in the supply value chain, which by extension is prompting digital natives to enter the competitive terrain. All in all, the disruptive trends of chemicals and advanced materials industry would be strongly characterized by digitally boosted innovation, enhanced efficiency & productivity, and efficient data management.

Challenges| Chemicals and advanced materials market

The parade of new technologies brings forth an array of challenges for the industry which might not be daunting but can act as a stumbling block for the business proliferation. Below mentioned are some of the key domains that needs to be upgraded fundamentally to face the digital disruption:

  • Workforce: The current digital era necessitates the requirement of companies to complement their workforce with a thorough insight driven digital skills in areas like data architecture and analytics. Internal competition with existing business priorities and data management along with integration of advanced operational technology are some of the crucial challenges to be addressed by chemicals and advanced materials market players.  
  • Cybersecurity: It is an obvious fact that with digitization, vulnerability to cyberattacks heightens. Managing cybersecurity has thus turned out to be a necessity rather than a challenge. Amidst this backdrop, protecting a growing array of connected software, hardware, platforms, and networks has become increasingly complex.
  • Ecosystem Collaboration: Seamlessly collaborating in digital ecosystems requires exchange of information and data cross the value chain. This in effect, is raising concerns related to data ownership, intellectual property protection, and privacy. Companies partaking in chemicals and advanced materials market must review internal procedures and policies to effectively tackle these issues, cite analysts.

While speaking of the growth prospect of chemicals and advanced materials market over the coming years, it is nothing but humongous. The extensive portfolio of existing materials, though is complicated to understand but has enough potential to bring forth a massive influx of new chemical combinations. The question is not whether digitization would change the gigantic industry space, but at what pace and extent the transformation would occur. The marketplace is rather claimed to undertake a revolutionary approach, by closely monitoring pockets of digital disruption. Aptly validated by the statistics which forecast digitization could unlock up to more than USD 500 billion value for chemicals and advanced materials market over the coming decade.

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