e-cigaretteElectronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are devices designed to release nicotine vapor without actually burning tobacco, thus, without smoke. They are battery operated devices which, in many cases, look like cigarettes but use a battery to produce heat which then atomizes the nicotine in a specially made cartridge. The liquid in the cartridge may contain flavorings such as cherry, mint, or cotton candy to name a few. Vaporizers are similar to e-cigarettes, except that instead of a disposable cartridge, the liquid is stored in either a refillable tank or a prefilled capsule.

E-cigarettes were first sold in 2007. By 2016, 35 million people worldwide vaped, a five-fold increase from 2011. According to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 10.8 million people in the United States vape. In contrast, the number of tobacco smokers worldwide numbered 1.11 billion in 2016 and in the United States, 37.8 million. These numbers aren’t exclusive. Researchers found that in the United States many users both vape and smoke traditional cigarettes.

While overall youth tobacco use dropped 20% from 2011 to 2017, e-cigarette use among high school students in the U.S. increased 900% from 2011 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response, on September 12, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave several e-cigarette product manufacturers 60 days to formulate plans to reduce the use of their products by minors or have their products removed from the market. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated “e-cigarettes may present an important opportunity for adult smokers to transition off combustible tobacco products. But these public health opportunities are put at risk if all we do is hook another generation of kids on nicotine and tobacco products through alternatives like e-cigarettes.”

In November, a week before the deadline imposed in September, the FDA announced it would ban convenience store and gas station sales of all flavors of e-cigarette liquids except for tobacco, mint, and menthol. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was signed into law in 2009 prohibits any restrictions to “the sale of any tobacco product in face-to-face transactions by a specific category of retail outlets.”1 As a result, lawsuits seeking to block the ban were predicted. A few days after the FDA announcement, Juul Labs announced a halt to all sales of its flavored e-cigarette liquid2 at brick-and-mortar stores throughout the United States, more than 19,000 locations, including those locations not a part of the FDA ban.

Today’s market size shows e-cigarette sales in the 52 weeks ended June 16, 2018, in the United States.3 In terms of dollar sales during the 4 weeks ended October 6, 2018, Juul Labs led with a 75% market share, followed by British American Tobacco (10%), Altria Group (6%) and Imperial Tobacco (6%). All other e-cigarette makers combined had a 5% share of the market. Globally, the market for e-cigarettes and related products is estimated to be worth $22.6 billion, up from $4.2 billion five years ago.

1 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Public Law 111-31, Sec. 906.d.3.A.i
2 Mango, cucumber, creme and fruit flavors.
3 Original source of data: Nielsen. Nielsen tracks sales at mass merchandisers and convenience stores.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2018
Market size: $1.96 billion
Sources: Angelica LaVito, “Popular E-Cigarette Juul’s Sales Have Surged Almost 800 Percent Over the Past Year,” CNBC, July 2, 2018, updated September 11, 2018 available online here; “Smoked Out,” The Economist, September 15, 2018, page 72; Teresa W Wang, et. al., “National and State-Specific Unit Sales and Prices for Electronic Cigarettes, United States, 2012-2016,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 2, 2018 available online here; Lisa Rapaport, “Almost One in 20 U.S. Adults Now Use E-Cigarettes,” Reuters, August 27, 2018 available online here; “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 24, 2018 available online here; Lora Jones, “Vaping – The Rise in Five Charts,” BBC, May 31, 2018 available online here; WHO Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking 2000-2025 – Second Edition, World Health Organization, 2018 available online here; Emilie Ikeda, “E-Cigarettes Ubiquitous at Schools Despite All Efforts: ‘You Won’t Find a Kid in Georgia Who Hasn’t Vaped Before,'” Fox News Channel, June 7, 2018 available online here; “Differences Between E-Cigs and Vaporizers” available online here; Jayne O’Donnell, “FDA to Limit Sale of Sweet-Flavored E-Cigarettes in Hope of Curbing Teen Vaping ‘Epidemic’,” Lansing State Journal, November 9, 2018, updated November 10, 2018 available online here; “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act Table of Contents,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, January 7, 2018 available online here; Ashley Welch, “Juul to Halt Sales of Flavored E-Cigarettes in Retail Stores,” CBS News, November 13, 2018 available online here.
Original sources: Wells Fargo, Nielsen. Nielsen tracks sales at mass merchandisers and convenience stores.
Image source: Rolandmey, “e-cigarette-steam-evaporator-health-1881957,” Pixabay, December 5, 2016 available online here.


Polypropylene recycling symbolPolypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer made from propylene monomers and catalysts. It was first polymerized in 1951 by Philips petroleum scientists Paul Hogan and Robert Banks. In 1954 Italian chemist Giulio Natta perfected and synthesized the first polypropylene resin. By 1957 it was in widespread commercial production across Europe. Currently, it is one of the most commonly produced plastics in the world.

Because polypropylene can be combined with other polymers, the types of end uses can vary widely making it a versatile material with which to work. In 2016 global demand was 45 million metric tons, 30% of which was used in the packaging industry. Some other uses include automotive parts, furniture, dishwasher-safe plates, toys, carpets, upholstery, laboratory equipment and medical devices.

Today’s market size shows the estimated global sales of polypropylene in 2017 and projected for 2022. Polypropylene homopolymers are expected to be the fastest-growing type during this time period due to increasing demand in the automotive and medical industries, especially in the Asia Pacific region. The market for polypropylene is expected to grow the fastest in China, followed by India and South Korea from 2017 to 2022.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2017 estimated and 2022 projected
Market size: $75.40 billion and $99.17 billion respectively
Sources: “The Polypropylene Market Size is Estimated at USD 75.40 Billion and Projected to Reach USD 99.17 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.6% Between 2017 and 2022,” CISION PR Newswire Press Release, February 1, 2018 available online here; “Everything You Need to Know About Polypropylene (PP) Plastic,” Creative Mechanisms, 2016 available online here; and “Polypropylene,” Wikipedia, April 23, 2018 available online here.
Image source: OpenIcons,”recycle-5-pp-recycling-plastic-98858,” Pixabay, April 1, 2013 available online here.

Fatty Amides

Plastic food packagingFatty amides, organic compounds derived from fatty acids, are used as slip agents and anti-blocking agents in polyolefin film processing. They’re added to the polymer from which the film is made. When the film is pressed, the fatty amides come to the surface and decrease the coefficient of friction between the film and the machine rollers to aid in the processing of the film. The fatty amides also prevent the layers from sticking together so that the rolls of film can be more easily unwound for further processing. Erucamide, oleamide, stearamide, and behenamide are the most commonly used fatty amides. Oleamide is widely used in food packaging and as a dispersing agent in printing inks and dyes. Erucamide had the largest share of the fatty amide market in 2016. It’s used as a slip agent, anti-fogging agent, and lubricant for polyolefin films used in food packing.

Today’s market size shows the total worldwide sales of fatty amides in 2017 and projected for 2022. The increasing demand for bio-based products, as opposed to petroleum-based products, is expected to fuel growth in this industry in the next 5 years. However, price volatility is expected to impede this growth during this time period. The market for fatty amides in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow the fastest due to the rising population and increased demand for packaged foods.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2017 and 2022 projected
Market size: $320.7 million and $391.5 million
Sources: “The Fatty Amides Market Size Will Grow From USD 320.7 Million in 2017 to USD 391.5 Million by 2022, at a CAGR of 4.07%,” CISION PR Newswire, March 8, 2018 available online here; “Fatty Amides Market,” Global Market Study on Fatty Amides: Increasing Demand from Film & Sheets Industry to Drive Growth of Market During the Forecast Period 2016 – 2022, Persistence Market Research Press Release, March 2016 available online here; Kenneth J. Longmoore and Edward K. Bullock, “Slip Agents and Polypropylene Films Prepared Therefrom,” United States Patent, No. US 6,497,965 B1, December 24, 2002 available online here.
Image source: ToddTrumble, “green-beans-plastic-bag-vegetable-1377124,” Pixabay, May 11, 2016 available online here.

Alpha Olefin Market

Alpha olefin word cloudAlpha olefins are organic compounds created by the processing of ethylene, a flammable hydrocarbon gas that occurs in natural gas, coal gas, and crude oil. It’s also a gas given off by ripening fruit. There are two types of alpha olefins: branched and linear. Linear alpha olefins, such as 1-butene, 1-hexene, 1-octene, and 1-decene, are created industrially by one of two processes: the oligomerization of ethylene or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis followed by purification. Three manufacturers’ processes have dominated alpha olefin processing: Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem), Ethyl (owned by INEOS) and Shell.

Today’s market size shows the total revenue earned from alpha olefin sales in 2016 and forecast for 2025. In 2016 North America produced the highest percentage of linear alpha olefin worldwide, 40%, followed by the Middle East (19%) and Western Europe (16%). That same year global demand for alpha olefin was more than 4.3 megatons. Demand is expected to increase to more than 6.3 megatons in 2025. Alpha olefins are used in the manufacture of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), lubricants, plasticizers, detergents, metalworking fluids, oil field chemicals and personal care items, such as shampoos and bath and shower products.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016 and 2025 projected
Market size: $8.26 billion and $12.58 billion respectively
Sources: “Report Summary,” Alpha Olefin Market Analysis by Product, (1-Butene, 1-Hexene, 1-Octene, 1-Decene, 1-Dodecene), by Application (Polyethylene, Detergent Alcohol, Synthetic Lubricants), by Region, and Segment Forcasts, 2018 – 2025, Grand View Research, November 2017 available online here; “Alpha Olefin Market Size Worth $12.58 Billion by 2025 | CAGR 4.8%,” Grand View Research Press Release, November 2017 available online here; “Linear Alpha-Olefins,” Chemcial Economics Handbook, IHS Markit, March 2017 available online here; “Alpha-olefin,” Wikipedia, September 6, 2017 available online here; “Linear Alpha Olefin,” Wikipedia, November 8, 2017 available online here; “Table of Contents,” Alpha Olefin Market: By Type (1- Butene, 1-Hexene, 1-Octene, Others); By Application (HDPE, LLDPE, Lubricants, Plasticizers, Detergents, Paper Sizing, Oil Recovery, Metalworking Fluids and Others); By Geography – With Forecast (2016-2021), IndustryARC, February 15, 2016 available online here; and Saroja Narasimhan and Jon Toliver, “Examining Tomorrow’s Surfactant Personalities: Alpha Olefin Sulfonate in Personal Care,” Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 8, 2018 available online here; “Sodium Alpha-Olefin Sulfonates,” Cosmetics Info available online here.
Image source: Word cloud created in-house using Wordle™ available online here.

Nutritional Supplements Market

The market we’re presenting today is one that includes a large range of ingestible products, from vitamins and calcium pills to protein shakes, diet pills and energy drinks. The market is also referred to by various names, among them: nutritional supplements, dietary supplements, and simply, supplements. By whatever the name, this is a lucrative market and one that many people feel is less regulated than would be prudent. The federal guidelines regulating the ingredients used in the production of nutritional supplements are far less restrictive than those imposed on food and drink makers. Worth noting is the fact that federal requirements of pharmaceutical companies are even more restrictive than those regulating the food and drink industry. Nutritional supplements are not bound by the regulations for either of these industries—food and drink nor pharmaceuticals.

The supplements market has been growing steadily since the turn of the century and is expected to continue growing. Driving the growth are a number of factors. An older population looking to supplements to minimize the effects of aging is one such driver. The young, too, are using supplements heavily. Having grown up in a society that appears to approve of the use of chemicals to augment human capacities of all sorts, they turn to supplements to help build muscle, lose weight, and stay awake.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011
Market size: $30 billion
Source: Natasha Singer and Peter Lattman, “Is the Seller to Blame,” The New York Times, March 17, 2013, page B1, available online here. Brittany McNamara, “Monster Energy Switches from Supplement to Beverage,” Nutrition Business Journal, February 14, 2013, available online here.
Original source: Nutrition Business Journal
Posted on March 20, 2013


Electronic cigarettes are devices designed to release nicotine vapor without actually burning tobacco, thus, without smoke. They are battery operated devices which look like cigarettes but use a battery to produce heat which then atomizes the nicotine in a specially made cartridge. While still a small fraction of the size of the cigarette market, the market for e-cigarettes is expected to grow rapidly.

Today’s market size is the estimated total value of e-cigarette sales in the United States in 2013.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2013
Market size: $1 billion
Source: Josh Sanburn,”A Quitter’s Market, Electronic-cigarette Sales Are Up, and Big Tobacco Wants In,” Time, January 21, 2013, page 19.
Original source: USB; Wells Fargo; Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association
Posted on January 15, 2013

Toiletries Market

Manufacturers of toiletries—that whole long list of things found in the bathroom for personal care: shampoo, deodorant, hand lotion, face crème, foot crème, toothpaste, perfume, hair mousse, etc.—saw robust growth over the period 1997 through 2007 but lost many of those gains between 2007 and 2009, a pattern repeated in so many industries.

Today’s market size is the size of the toiletries market as measured by U.S. manufacturers’ shipments in 1997, 2007, and 2009.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 1997, 2007 and 2009
Market size: $24.3, $48.8 and $38.5 billion respectively
Source: 1997 Economic Census, 2007 Economic Census, and the 2009 Annual Survey of Manufactures.
Original source: U.S. Census Bureau
Posted on December 15, 2011

Bio-Based Manufacturing

In 2011, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry introduced her “Grow It Here, Make It Here” initiative to spur growth in the emerging bio-based manufacturing industry. The initiative would provide a 30% tax cut for new, expanded, or re-equipped bio-manufacturing projects. Bio-based manufacturing uses agricultural goods, such as soy and wheat, to make value-added products, such as car parts, cleaning products, and plastics. This is not a new concept. Henry Ford used Michigan-grown soy and other agricultural products in his automobiles. In recent years, more and more automakers are using parts made from agricultural products. An example: the seats of the new Ford Focus and the Chevy Volt are made of Michigan-grown soy material.

Currently, bio-based products represent 4% of the plastic and chemical industry market. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the potential market for bio-based plastic and chemicals could reach 20% by 2025 with federal policy support. Some studies show that if that 20% is reached, it would create more than 100,000 American jobs. This does, however, assume that agricultural production is able to keep up with strongly increasing demand and do so while maintaining competitive prices. Today’s market size is the estimated, current value of the bio-based economy in the United States.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011
Market Size: $1.25 trillion
Source: “Stabenow Announces ‘Grow It Here, Make It Here’ Initiative to Advance Emerging Michigan Industry in Zeeland,” October 24, 2011, available online here.
Posted on November 4, 2011

Dietary Supplements

There is a large market for dietary supplements in the United States. This market includes a wide variety of ingestible products designed to do things such as help you lose weight, increase sexual desire, increase muscle mass, reduce cholesterol, increase brain function, and others yet. Vitamins and multivitamins are part of this market but drugs that need and carry a Federal Drug Administration approval are not.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2005 and 2010
Market size: $21.3 and $28.1 billion respectively
Source: Natasha Singer, “Here’s to Your Health, So They Claim,” New York Times, Sunday Business, August 28, 2011, page 1, available online here.
Original source: Nutrition Business Journal


World production of salt has grown at just above the rate of population growth over the last quarter century or so—global salt production grew by 35% while world population grew by 38% between 1985 and 2007. Salt is used in many ways, in the treatment of water, in agricultural applications, as an industrial input, in deicing operations and as a spice or food additive. In the United States, food-grade salt is the smallest of the categories of salt by end use. In fact, nearly two-thirds of U.S. salt consumption annually is related to the de-icing of roadways. This makes us wonder (with a bit of tongue in cheek) whether looking at changes in the number of paved roads there are in the northern reaches of the northern hemisphere and the southern reaches of the southern hemisphere may be a better gauge for predicting future salt demand in the world.

Today’s market size is the quantity of salt produced worldwide in 1985 and in 2007, measured in millions of metric tons.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 1985 and 2007
Market size: 190.6 and 257.0 million metric tons respectively
Source: “World Salt Production,” a spreadsheet presented on the Salt Institute’s web page, available online here.

Bulgarian Rose Oil

Rose Pedals

In 2004, supported by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, then-Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, and the German non-governmental organization Welthungerhilfe, a project was started in Afghanistan to cultivate Bulgarian Roses as an alternative to growing opium. Bulgarian Roses are unique in that they are cultivated for their oil, which is used in expensive perfumes. The total amount of rose oil produced in the world was 4,000 kilograms in 2010, most of that grown in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria. It takes 3,500 kilograms of rose petals to produce one kilogram of rose oil. One kilogram of rose oil sells for around 4,000-5,000 euros. Although small-scale, the rose oil industry in Afghanistan provides a living wage for 5,000 people. The market size shown is the amount of rose oil produced in Afghanistan in 2010.

Geographic reference: Afghanistan
Year: 2010
Market size: 30 kilograms valued at approximately €135,000
Source: Sofia News Agency, “Afghanistan Shows Off Own ‘Bulgarian Rose’ Oil,” novinite.com, January 24, 2011, available online here. The image used comes from an online article titled “Extract of Bulgarian Rose Oil Contains in Italian Parfume,” published on June 20, 2007, available online here.

Indian Agrochemical Market

India is the fourth largest producer of agrochemicals in the world, behind the United States, Japan, and China. An estimated $17 billion worth of crops is lost every year due to non-use of pesticides. Recently the biofertilizer sector has been trying to educate farmers about biofertilizers and biopesticides in hopes that they will switch from the chemical fertilizers and pesticides to the natural ones. Biopesticides are derived from natural materials such as animal and plant bacteria and certain minerals. According to the source, unlike chemical fertilizers, biofertilizers are effective, non-toxic, and do not lead to the deterioration in quality or fertility of the land. Data for 2012 are projected.

Geographic reference: India
Year: 2008 and 2012
Market size: $1.22 billion and $1.70 billion, respectively
Source: “Indian Agrochemical Industry Expected to Grow to 1.7 Bn by 2012,” The Economic Times, March 2, 2011, available online here.

Helium, Grade-A

Helium production and consumption

For those not involved in one of the industries in which helium is an input, the term may conjure images of party balloons. But, helium is used in a variety of industrial applications. In the United States its end users break down in the following categories: 32% for cryogenic applications; 18% for pressurizing and purging applications; 13% is used for welding; 18% for controlled atmospheres; 4% for leak detection; 2% for breathing mixtures and the remaining 13% for other applications, like party balloons.

Today’s market size is the estimated value of domestically extracted grade-A helium in 2010. The graphic shows production and apparent consumption figures for a period of 30 years, from 1980 to 2010. Apparent consumption is a calculated figure based on production, plus imports, less exports plus or minus change in stock.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010
Market size: $730 million
Source: “Helium Statistics and Information,” part of a series of reports on different minerals and commodities produced by the U.S. Geological Survey and available online here.
Original source: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Sodium Sulfate

Sodium sulfate is an inorganic chemical that looks like a white powder. Its chemical symbol is NA2 SO4. Sodium sulfate is used in the production of many products. Soaps and detergents account for the largest single share (35%) of its consumption. Other end uses of sodium sulfate include glass manufacturing which accounts for 18% of consumption, the paper and pulp industry uses 15%, and textile production accounts for 4% of consumption in the United States. The remaining 28% of consumption is divided among many smaller consuming end users.

The market size presented below is the estimated total value of all natural and synthetic sodium sulfate sold in 2010.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010
Market size: $42 Million
Source: “Sodium Sulfate Statistics Information,” part of an annual series titled Mineral Commodities Summaries, published by the U.S. Geographical Survey and available online here.
Original source: U.S. Department of the Interior, USGS

Lice Treatments

With recent news about the reemergence of a bedbug infestation, we are reminded that the little pests that infest our lives from time to time must be dealt with over and over again. Lice are such pests and while not spoken of very often, the size of the market for lice treatments suggests that many battle these little pests in silence, behind closed doors.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: $65.88 million
Source: MMR, April 19, 2010, page 69.
Original source: SymphonyIRI

Vitamin Supplements

Multivitamin tablets, powders and liquids dominate this category with 55% of the total vitamin supplement market. Vitamin B is the second largest category with 13% followed by vitamin C which represents 11% of the market.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: $8.5 billion
Source: National Foods Merchandiser, September 2009, page 22.
Original source: Nutrition Business Journal

Noncellulosic Organic Fiber Market

This industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture and texturizing of noncellulosic fibers and filaments in the form of monofilament, filament yarn, and staples. These noncellulosic materials include nylon, polyolefin and polyester.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: $6.56 billion
Source: Annual Survey of Manufactures, 2008, March 30, 2010 available online here.
Original source: U.S. Bureau of the Census

Market for Industrial Gases

This market covers a large number of gases, the most prominent of them (with market share in parenthesis) being: argon and hydrogen (34.2%); nitrogen (13.5%); Fluorocarbon gases (12.5%); oxygen (10.5%); carbon dioxide (6.3%) and acetylene (1.6%).

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: $9.94 billion
Source: Annual Survey of Manufactures, 2008, March 30, 2010 available online here.
Original source: U.S. Bureau of the Census

Functional Foods

The term “functional foods” was first introduced in Japan in the 1980s and refers to processed foods that contain, by design, ingredients that aid specific bodily functions in addition to being nutritious. Some might simply call these processed foods “enriched foods.”

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2008
Market size: $85 billion
Source: AROQ’s Global Market Review Series, October 2009
Original source: just-food

Compounding Pharmacies in the United States

Data show the number of compounding pharmacies in the United States in 2010. Compounding pharmacists mix raw ingredients to prepare customized medications to meet the specific needs of patients. Between 1 and 5 percent of the population needs medications that are not commercially available. For example, compounding pharmacies can prepare gluten-free and lactose-free medications, specialized hormone therapy, or specialized doses of pain medication. Of the 400 compounding pharmacies in the United States, only 76 are nationally accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010
Market size: 400
Source: Rebecca Jones, “Custom Cures,” Wayne State, Spring 2010, page 14. The publication is accessible online here.