Breathable films, also known as micro-porous films, are semi-permeable films which allow the exchange of water vapor and gases, but prevent liquids or water to pass through. They are a three-dimensional matrix of long-chained molecules usually composed of acrylic latex, polyethylene, or polypropylene. These films are used in a wide range of end-user industries including building & construction, pharmaceuticals, medical, industrial, food packaging & processing, and personal care & hygiene. In food packaging, the film enables superior circulation of vital gases from the atmosphere keeping the food content fresh and also avoiding accumulation of pungent odors. In case of industrial applications, breathable films are employed to manufacture protective clothing for hazardous environments.
The breathable films market is propelled by the personal care & hygiene industry, due to the growing awareness about hygiene and health in the general population. Their applications in this sector include the manufacturing of baby diapers, adult diapers, and sanitary napkins, these films are employed as back sheet to promote comfort and reduce skin rashes and infections. Thus, rising birth rates and aging population are key drivers of the breathable films market. The growing per capita GDP in developing countries and rising consumer spending on personal care products is also propelling the breathable films market. The burgeoning construction industry is also a propellant, with breathable films utilized as house wrap, roofing films, and wall coverings. Moreover, these films are also used to manufacture disposable clothing in the medical sector, and therefore the robust growth of health care facilities, especially in developed countries, motivates this market substantially.
Based on material, the breathable films market has been divided into the following categories: polyurethane, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, and others. Among these, polyethylene films are extensively popular in the market, primarily due to their high melt strength and ability to act as a better barrier against microbes and viruses. They also exhibit high chemical inertness and puncture resistance and are therefore used in band aids and dressings. However, other film varieties also offer different properties which suit specific applications. In terms of application, the market is split into the following segments: personal care & hygiene, health care & medical, food packaging, building & construction, industrial, and others. Personal care & hygiene is a prominent application among these. In case of medical applications, these films are used in the manufacture of medical garments, surgical robes & gowns, and gloves.
Geographically, the market has been distributed over Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is a prominent market for breathable films due to the high birth rates and subsequent need for baby diapers in the region. Asia Pacific is likely to remain the principal consumer of breathable films over the forecast period, on account of the ever-increasing population and demand for breathable films in industrial applications. However on the other hand, North America and Europe has a large ageing population thus promoting the use of adult diaper. These regions are significant consumers with regards to health care and medical applications owing to the well-established facilities and infrastructure.
Key manufacturers of breathable films include Mitsui Chemicals Incorporation, Clopay Plastic Products Company, Toray Industries Inc., RKW Group, Covestro, Fatra A.S., Nitto Denko Corporation, Arkema SA, rioplast Industrier AB, and Celanese Corporation.