SANTIAGO study for the German Chemical Industry Association

Expectations of Customer Industries for the Chemical Industry

Industry is experiencing strong pressure to change. End customer sectors feel it more directly than those further up the value chain. However, customers pass on this pressure to their suppliers – which gives impulses for change also to the chemical industry. This study analyses the expectations of six key customer industries. It is one of three studies within “Chemistry is Future”; they want to help secure tomorrow’s viability of the chemical industry in Germany.

© Santiago

48 Seiten / DIN A4

member industries; customer industries of the chemical industry; politicians; broad public

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The world is changing ever faster and partly fundamentally. What is considered a given today can be put into question tomorrow. Technologies that have been used for over 100 years, such as combustion engines, will soon be replaced. Digitalisation opens up options that were unimaginable until recently. The calls for closed cycles, more climate protection and resource conservation bring new demands to product design and require completely new technologies.

Study design: qualitative expert evaluations

Against the above-described backdrop, the VCI retained SANTIAGO Advisors to find out about the expectations of six key customer industries. For this purpose, qualitative interviews were held with experts from customer industries and VCI member companies.

The results of this study are based on 58 qualitative interviews which SANTIAGO Advisors conducted with experts from six key customer industries and member companies of the VCI. The survey focused on Germany and Europe. The European results were confirmed by surveying a number of Asian and American experts. The interviewed experts were distributed in their function across various management levels (company management, divisional management, departmental management, experts). They come from the fields of research and development, marketing and sales, purchasing, IP, regulatory, legal, sustainability and new business development. This ensured that a cross-sector, cross-functional evaluation could take place and that a decisionmaker perspective was always taken.

Surveyed customer industries

When selecting the companies, care was taken to ensure that the respective sectors were as representative as possible and that companies of different sizes and fields of activity were taken into account. The study examines current megatrends and their impact on six key customer industries of the chemical industry:

  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Electronics
  • Consumer goods
  • Energy
  • Food

On this basis, the study attempts to identify the future requirements of the customer industries which the chemical industry wants to meet successfully.


  1. Preface
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Study design and methodical approach
  4. Cross-sector megatrends
    1. Ecology and sustainability
    2. Ethical and social standards
    3. Digitalization, individualization and acceleration
    4. Demographic change and urbanization
    5. Conclusion: Five findings from the analysis of megatrends
  5. Current developments in the most important customer industries of the chemical industry
    1. Transport
    2. Housing
    3. Electronics
    4. Consumer Goods
    5. Food
    6. Energy
  6. Ten requirements for the chemical industry from the point of view of the customer industries
    1. Intensify thinking in solutions
    2. Think more from the end customer's point of view
    3. Enable circular economy
    4. Establish life cycle perspective
    5. Guerantee transparency
    6. Avoid hazardous substances
    7. Comply with ethical and social standards
    8. Produce more flexibly
    9. Rethink business models
    10. Improve communication

Context of the study

“Chemie ist Zukunft” (Chemistry is Future). The VCI commissioned three studies to ensure that this statement is still valid tomorrow. The results are intended to help secure the viability of the chemical industry in Germany.

  • “Expectations of customer industries for the chemical industry”; study performed by SANTIAGO Advisors.
  • “Auf dem Weg zu einer treibhausgasneutralen chemischen Industrie in Deutschland“ („On the way to a greenhouse gas neutral chemical industry in Germany”); study performed by DECHEMA and FutureCamp.
  • „Paths to the future - setting the course for sustainable development in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry" („Wege in die Zukunft – Weichenstellung für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung in der chemisch-pharmazeutischen Industrie in Deutschland"); study performed by Prognos

For questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.


Dr. Hans-Jürgen Klockner