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This study analyzes the world market for pesticides. The products focused on are:
other pesticides and repellants, including:
defoliants and desiccants
Markets analyzed are:
commercial (including industrial)
Also included in the scope of this report are repellants, which instead of killing pests, are designed to repel or discourage their presence.
Excluded from coverage in this report are:
bulk commodities such as copper, sulfur, and petroleum oils
disinfectants and antimicrobials – which are often regulated as pesticides
Historical data for 2010, 2015 and 2020, and forecasts to 2025 and 2030 are provided for demand in current (including inflation) US dollars and/or metric tons of active ingredient. Unless otherwise specified, data are for formulated pesticide products (i.e., the first level of formulation after the production of technical-grade pesticide active ingredients). As used in this study, the term “demand” refers to sales or apparent consumption. Tabular details may not add to totals due to independent rounding. Ratios may be rounded for the sake of clarity.
Demand by Product
Herbicides will remain the leading product in value terms, accounting for 42% of demand in 2025. Herbicide use is widespread due to the relative affordability of many types relative to other pesticides. Additionally, the near-ubiquitous use of herbicide-tolerant crop varieties – particularly large field crops like soybeans and corn – has promoted high rates of herbicide use over the past few decades, and will continue to do so going forward.
Insecticides, the second largest category in dollar terms, tend to be much more expensive than herbicides, but are used in substantially smaller volumes. Some users are more wary of insecticides, as they are often perceived as being more toxic and dangerous to humans and the environment. However, growth in insecticide demand will be supported by:
continued research into safer, more effective insecticides
improved education on proper insecticide use
increased pest pressure due to a globally warming climate
Fungicide demand – especially for such active ingredients as propiconazole, myclobutanil, and chlorothalonil – will benefit from increased use to combat soybean rust and greater use of specialty fungicide formulations rather than commodities such as sulfur or copper. Climate change will also contribute to greater need for fungicides, particularly in regions that are experiencing increased rainfall in addition to increased temperatures.
Demand for other pesticides – particularly those perceived as “specialty” products such as nematicides – will benefit from expanded use in countries that are shifting toward export cash crops, particularly as the range of pesticides available in these markets continues to widen. In more mature markets, the development of more advanced pesticides will support gains in dollar terms.
Active Ingredient Volume Trends
Active ingredients are the substances in a formulated product that have the desired pesticidal properties. While some adjuvants used in a formulation may have pesticidal properties, an ingredient is not considered an active ingredient unless its sole purpose in a formulation is to kill the target pest.
The volume of active ingredient included in a formulation varies widely depending on the product, and many formulations sold to agricultural chemical distributors are often diluted once or twice more before being applied:
As a result, active ingredients account for a very small percentage of total formulated pesticide volume – often less than a few percentage points.
On average, formulated herbicide products tend to have higher active ingredient loadings, although herbicide active ingredients also tend to be substantially less expensive than other types.
Active ingredient volumes also vary significantly between regions. North America and Western Europe tends to be more reliant on value-added formulations with active ingredients used in smaller volumes; as a result, the ratio of kilograms of active ingredient to total formulated pesticide value is lower than in the Asia/Pacific region, which primarily uses very inexpensive active ingredients in large volumes.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management is an approach that utilizes a variety of techniques, including pesticides, to control pests in an environmentally responsible way. This approach aims to prevent pests from becoming a threat and then controlling them once they do. Prevention methods may include:
selecting pest-resistant crop varieties
planting pest-free rootstock
If further pest control is required, integrated pest management programs typically call for an escalating range of measures, including less risky methods such as the use of pheromones to disrupt pest mating patterns. More environmentally hazardous methods such as targeted spraying of pesticides or broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides are generally seen as a last resort.
Biopesticides are pesticides derived from natural materials, including plants and bacteria. As a result, they are less toxic than conventional pesticides. Biopesticides comprise three major types:
biochemical pesticides, which include substances that can interfere with mating and plant extracts that can attract insects to traps
microbial pesticides, which use a microorganism (such as a bacterium, fungus, or virus) as the active ingredient
plant-incorporated protectants, which are pesticidal substances produced by the plants using genetic material that has been added to the plants
Among the suppliers of biopesticides is BASF, which offers
Nemasys, a range of beneficial nematodes (tiny – often microscopic – worms) that feed on insects. In April 2020, BASF introduced Nemasys C beneficial nematodes, which are intended to feed on codling moths in North American apple and pear farms.
Global demand for formulated pesticides is forecast to increase 3.4% per year to $94.7 billion in 2025, supported mostly by growth in the dominant agricultural market due to:
increasing agricultural productivity on a per hectare basis
changes in crop mix, increased access to a wider range of pesticide formulations, and improved farmer education
The commercial and consumer pesticide markets will see the fastest gains in countries with expanding middle classes and abundant space for gardening and other outdoor recreation.
Industrialization & Shifting Crop Mixes to Support Rising Pesticide Application Rates
Rapidly evolving agricultural industries in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa will support significant market opportunities for agricultural pesticides. Area dedicated to cropland is expected to increase more in these regions than in the more mature markets in Europe and North America, and many countries in these regions are in the process of shifting their agricultural sectors from subsistence to industrialized formats. A change in focus from subsistence crops to higher value cash crops for export markets will incentivize farmers to maximize production and to invest in more effective crop protection products.
In more developed agricultural markets, limited growth in cropland will be offset by greater production per hectare, which will require increased spending on pesticides. The focus will be on products that are both effective and generally safe for the environment. These changes are supported by evolving regulatory requirements and a decreasing agricultural workforce, thus increasing the importance of efficiency.
Nonagricultural Markets Will Be Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic & Changing Demographics
The commercial and consumer markets for pesticides in the US and other affluent countries with significant lawn and garden cultures were strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a drop in residential landscaping services and a significant increase in the number of households participating in lawn and garden activities. Although the share of households with active gardeners is expected to fall off over time, the consumer base will remain elevated, supporting demand for value-added, consumer-friendly pesticides.
A growing middle class and increasing emphasis on the importance of urban green spaces will support gains in demand in less comprehensive pesticide markets. However, increasing urban population density in a number of countries may limit available space for gardens, and – in many countries – commercial pesticide use will continue to be dominated by insect and rodent control for public health reasons.
Evolving Pest Pressures & Crop Threats Will Impact Pesticide Use in Every Region & Market
The ongoing impacts of climate change will continue to affect pesticide requirements in essentially every region and market. Rising temperatures in many parts of the world will alter growing seasons and possibly affect which crop mixes are best suited to a region. Worsening droughts or increased flooding will also affect insect populations, plant disease proliferation, and the spread of weeds, which will force many users to rely on a broader range of pesticide types and active ingredients.