Shell Lubricants has topped the list of the world’s leading lubricant suppliers for the fifth consecutive year, according to new research into the global lubricants market. The research, which was conducted by Kline & Company, found that Shell had more than 13 percent of the market by volume in 2010 and a 2-percent lead over its nearest competitor.
In addition to maintaining its leadership position in 2010 on an overall volume basis, Shell also led in the branded lubricants category. Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s head of lubricants, said the company’s distinctive approach to selling lubricants through distributors was paying dividends.
“In 2010, we more than doubled average distributor volumes compared to 2009,” Gainsborough explained.
Global demand for lubricants as a whole grew by nearly 6 percent over 2009, indicating a slight recovery from recession. According to Kline, the Asia-Pacific region continued to show the most robust volume growth in 2010, benefiting from the shift in automotive production. Shell achieved strong volume growth in China, maintaining its lead as the top international supplier.
The United States was the largest single market in terms of lubricant volume demand, accounting for 23 percent of global consumption in 2010 (down from 25 percent in 2009). Shell maintained its leadership position in the U.S. lubricants market with more than 11 percent share by volume.
Looking ahead, Kline forecasts slow growth for the market as a whole but identified opportunities at the country and product levels. The strongest growth is predicted to come from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Korea, with China as “the growth engine” of the industry. Demand for lubricants in China is projected to grow by 5 percent between 2010 and 2020. Over the same period, Kline predicts that lubricant demand in India will grow between 3 and 5 percent.
The annual research study also highlighted increasing demand for synthetic lubricants, which help end users improve energy efficiency and prolong equipment life.