With a growth rate of 3.8%, chemical company sales kept up with global GDP growth between 2015 and 2019, but most chemical companies can still expect a future of slowed sales growth. This is especially true of those who serve North American and European markets, where end-consumers are eschewing products with a high chemical content due to health and environmental concerns. The chemical industry currently lags behind averages for shareholder returns – only the auto industry performs worse. So how will chemical companies keep up with the times? Andreas Gocke, Marcus Morawietz and Udo Jung offer some tips in this special report from the Boston Consulting Group.
The transition to renewable energy will provide some opportunity for chemical companies, but gains will require new, hard-won capabilities.
Electric vehicles will require many new lightweight components, improved batteries and other elements that represent opportunities for chemical companies. New demands will similarly arise in many industries. To take advantage of these opportunities, chemical companies will need to cultivate new capabilities, harnessing digitization, new technologies and AI to improve value chains.
The Boston Consulting Group has identified seven value levers for chemical industry growth strategies. The first is to “transform traditional business intelligence into value chain oriented, always-on radar.” Chemical companies have a tendency to focus on products, neglecting alternative activities that could lead to growth. This may require an understanding of key customer value chains from a granular level (focusing on the EV battery value chain rather than the auto industry as a whole); being aware of “demand cliffs and growth...