Asia is the fastest growing market for air filters and purifiers. One third of the 2011 sales of $6.6 billion will be in Asia. This is the latest forecast in the McIlvaine Air Filtration and Purification World Markets.
Nearly half the market will be for medium efficiency filters, rated F 5-9 (approx. MERV 8-15). These are filters similar to the 3M electrets filter as opposed to lower efficiency furnace filters with the G1-4 rating. The high efficiency and gas phase segments are still comparatively small.
There is a relative high penetration of gas phase filters in Japan where applications even include bathrooms. But generally throughout Asia the penetration is less than in America. Japan is also a significant market for electronic filters but not the rest of Asia. The HEPA (microfiber glass) filter media with the H10-17 rating is a growing segment of the market due to the construction of electronic facilities in the region.
The commercial use exceeds any other application. One only has to look out of a high rise window in Shanghai to view the thousands of new tall buildings under construction. This segment of the market is growing very rapidly.
The metals segment includes cabin air filters in automobiles but not the engine air filters. The Other Industries segment is the largest and includes HVAC filters in many different types of industrial facilities. The Bioclean segment includes hospitals, dental offices, animal research laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry.
The market is international in all respects. Many U.S. and European media manufacturers have set up manufacturing operations in Asia. This allows them to not only serve the local markets but to export roll goods to the rest of the world. A number of companies such as 3M are vertically integrated and make both the media and final filter. Clarcor just acquired TransWeb who had been a long time supplier of media for Clarcor filters.
Despite the presence of some very large players, the market is not dominated by them. There are thousands of air filter companies who have niches which are geographic, product, or application specific. Those companies with a big presence in residential furnace filters tend to be large. One example is American Air Filter now owned by Daikin. It has many facilities all over the world. Some of the companies specializing in small niches such as paint spray booth filters are much smaller.
In the middle are companies such as Filtration Group. It has become a leader in commercial HVAC filtration and ranks among the top 30 suppliers in terms of revenues.
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