Acetic Acid Market Companies, Consumption, Drivers, Trends

The global acetic acid market size is expected to reach USD 13.79billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 8.4% during the forecast period. The rising consumption of solvents such as VAM in the chemical industry for paints & coatings, adhesives & sealants will bolster the healthy growth of the market, states Fortune Business Insights, in a report, titled “Acetic Acid Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Application (Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM), Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA), Ester Solvents, Acetic Anhydride, Others), and Geography Forecast, 2020-2027.” The market size stood at USD 8.34 billion in 2019.

Acetic acid is a simple carboxylic acid known for its distinctive sour taste and pungent smell. It is an important chemical reagent and industrial chemical, used in a variety of applications.


  • Chemical Formula: CH₃COOH
  • Molecular Weight: 60.05 g/mol
  • Appearance: Colorless liquid
  • Boiling Point: 118.1 °C (244.6 °F)
  • Melting Point: 16.6 °C (61.9 °F)
  • Density: 1.049 g/cm³
  • Solubility: Miscible with water, ethanol, and many other organic solvents


  • Biological Production: Acetic acid is produced biologically through fermentation processes involving acetic acid bacteria. This method is used in the production of vinegar.
  • Synthetic Production: Industrially, acetic acid is produced via the carbonylation of methanol. This method involves the reaction of methanol with carbon monoxide in the presence of a catalyst, typically rhodium or iridium.


  1. Industrial Applications:
    • Chemical Feedstock: Acetic acid is a key raw material in the production of various chemicals such as acetic anhydride, acetate esters, and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), which is used in making paints, adhesives, and coatings.
    • Solvent: It is used as a solvent in the production of terephthalic acid (TPA), which is a precursor to PET (polyethylene terephthalate), commonly used in plastic bottles and textiles.
  2. Food Industry:
    • Vinegar: Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar (4-8% acetic acid by volume), used in cooking, food preservation, and as a condiment.
    • Food Additive: Used as a preservative and flavoring agent.
  3. Medical Applications:
    • Antiseptic: Acetic acid is used in solutions for cleaning wounds and treating ear infections.
    • Pharmaceuticals: It is used in the synthesis of various pharmaceuticals.
  4. Household Uses:
    • Cleaning Agent: Diluted acetic acid (vinegar) is used as a natural cleaning agent due to its antibacterial properties.
    • De-scaling: It helps remove mineral deposits from kettles, coffee makers, and other household appliances.
  5. Textile Industry:
    • Dyeing and Finishing: Acetic acid is used in the dyeing process of textiles to fix dyes and as a pH regulator.

Safety and Handling

  • Corrosive: Concentrated acetic acid is corrosive and can cause burns upon contact with skin or eyes. It should be handled with appropriate protective equipment.
  • Inhalation: Inhalation of acetic acid vapors can cause respiratory irritation. Adequate ventilation is necessary when handling the substance.
  • Storage: Acetic acid should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from incompatible substances such as strong oxidizing agents.

Environmental Impact

Acetic acid is biodegradable and poses a low risk to the environment. It rapidly breaks down in water and soil, minimizing its environmental footprint.

Market Driver:

Advancements in Polymer Development to Bolster Growth

The growing technological advancements in polymers and products made out of VAM will significantly aid the expansion of the market. The growing demand for VAM in the production of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), a barrier resin in food packaging, gasoline tanks, and other engineering polymers will have an excellent effect on the market. Some other VAM derivatives such as vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate copolymers have applications in adhesives & sealants, which, in turn, will bolster the health of the market. Moreover, It also has applications in adhesive due to adhesion properties to different substrates that include wood, paper, metals, and plastic films.

Decreased Production to Hamper Market in COVID-19 Pandemic

The reduced production of chemicals has negatively impacted on the market growth. The shutdown of factories due to a shortage of laborers and diminished supply of raw materials can dwindle the sales, in turn, affecting the growth of the acetic acid market share. However, the demand for ethanoic acid alongside the high consumption of sanitizers will subsequently aid in the recovery of the business amid coronavirus. Besides, health and safety concerns in healthcare facilities will further improve the prospects of the market in the near future.

Regional Analysis:

Heavy Investments in Polymers to Promote Growth in Asia Pacific

The acetic acid industry in Asia Pacific is expected to hold the largest share in the global market owing to the rising polymer formulations in the region. The chemical is a key raw material used for the production of polymers in industries across Japan, China, and India. China is a major leader in polymers and chemicals. China’s capacity further helps in the high production of ethanoic acid. According, to Chemical Market Associates, Inc. (CMAI) 400,000 tons per year demand is in China, from the global average demand. The improving construction industry in India is expected to further boost growth in the region. Europe is expected to hold a significant share during the forecast period owing to the rising demand from end-use sectors. The growing import activities will aid expansion in Europe. Moreover, the high production of methanol carbonylation, which has accounted for up to 65% of the world capacity, and other process oxidation of acetaldehyde by German producer Wacker will significantly create opportunities for the market in the region.

Key Development:

October 2019: BP and China’s Zhejiang Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (ZPCC) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for exploring the creation of an equally-owned joint venture between the companies to build and operate 1 million tons per annum of the acetic acid plant in eastern China.

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