Benzyl alcohol is an aromatic alcohol that is widely used as a solvent in various industrial products. Chemically, it is denoted as BnOH. It is a sweet-smelling, colourless liquid that is moderately soluble in water. Benzyl alcohol is a solvent known for its polarity, low toxicity, and low vapour pressure. It occurs naturally in many plants, fruits, and teas. Essential oils like jasmine and hyacinth also contain benzyl alcohol.
As a general solvent, benzyl alcohol is used for manufacturing inks, paints, waxes, shellacs, epoxy resins, and lacquers. Additionally, it is a precursor to a number of esters that are used in soaps and perfumes, and also in flavour industries. Apart from these, it is used as a dye solvent to enhance the process of dying nylon, wool, and leather. It can also be used as a degreaser in rug cleaning products.
Due to large number of applications, the demand for benzyl alcohol has been increasing continuously in various end-use industries. The global benzyl alcohol market is expected to reach US$ 282.3 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.2% during the period 2017 to 2025.
On the basis of applications, the global benzyl alcohol market has been segmented into paints & coatings, personal care, food & beverages, and pharmaceuticals. The surging demand for benzyl alcohol from the pharmaceutical and personal care industries will give a major boost to the global benzyl alcohol market.
Among various end-users, the use of benzyl alcohol is high in the paints & coatings industry. The paints & coatings industry accounted for a share of about 60% in the market in 2015. However, in the coming years, the share of the pharmaceutical industry is expected to increase considerably.
The latest trend that has emerged in the market is the growing use of benzyl alcohol in personal care products and cosmetics, like soaps, shampoos, body lotions, hair care products, etc., where it is used as a preservative. Another major driver for the market will be the increasing use of benzyl alcohol as a flavouring agent in food & beverages. Moreover, it also acts as a preservative and increases the shelf life of food.
However, toxicity of benzyl alcohol is one of the major restraining factors for market growth, as it is not used in some industries due to this reason. Following a couple of neonatal deaths in the US, the use of benzyl alcohol has been restricted in various medicines used for infants by the FDA.
Region-wise, North America has been dominating the global benzyl alcohol market and will continue to do so due to the rising demand for it in various end-use applications. Another region that is going to witness a high growth in the coming years is the Asia-Pacific region.
Presently, the key players operating in the global benzyl alcohol market are, Hubei Greenhome Fine Chemical Co. (China), Ineos AG. (UK), Finar Limited (India), Wuhan Biet Co. Ltd. (China), Emerald Performance Materials (USA), Wuhan Youji Industries Co. Ltd. (China), Elan Chemical Company Inc. (USA), Merck KGaA (Germany), Alfa Aesar (USA), Lanxess (Germany), and Pharmco-Aaper (USA), amongst others. Among these companies, Hubei Greenhome Fine Chemical Co. (China) and Emerald Performance Materials together account for about 70% market share.