The global surfactants market is expected to witness steady growth over the coming years. Surfactants are popularly employed in the manufacturing of personal care products, which include laundry detergents, soaps, facial cleansers, and shower gels. Rise in living standards and increasing consumer awareness have spurred the personal care industry.
They are also used in the production of fabric detergents as well as those used for dishwashing. They also find industrial applications in the form of hard surface cleaners. Surfactant agents are mostly readily soluble in water and have good foaming properties. These superior characteristics make them effective cleaning agents, which is expected to drive the global market.
Growing focus on personal hygiene has resulted in increased demand for several personal care products as well as laundry detergents on a daily basis. Increase in adoption of washing machines across Asia Pacific, mainly China and India, has significantly contributed toward regional growth and the trend is expected to continue in future.
For the longest time, silicone oil or linear alkyl benzene were the primary surfactants used across several industries. However, concerns over the impact of these products on the environment, in the form of harmful waste generation and noxious chemical release, restrained their usage. Rising consumer awareness regard
Production of biosurfactants as a more sustainable and environment-friendly alternative is gaining speed as they are greener in nature and do not lead to undesirable byproducts such as ethylene oxide and nitrogen. These products are expected to drive the global surfactant market over the forecast period.
Biosurfactants have majorly found applications in the crude oil extraction industry. They are used to remove petroleum from polluted sites and to improve oil production by microbial enhanced oil recovery method (MEOR). The European Chemicals Agency looks after the evaluation and authorization of chemicals.
Strict government regulations act as a barrier to overall market growth. Local governing bodies are imposing strict laws to safeguard the environment and organizations face the challenge of modifying their production line to meet these rules and regulations.
The production of green cleansing agents is rather costly and therefore, market for the same is not as lucrative in low-income countries. On the other hand, growing usage of eco-friendly products means the market for synthetic variants is likely to take a hit. Research is on to develop synthetic cleaning agents with biodegradable properties. This is sure to provide several opportunities to the market.
Based on chemical composition, surfactants can be cationic, anionic, nonionic, and amphoteric. Anionic agents such as linear alkyl benzene are most widely used. Nonionic agents are expected to witness slow growth on account of easy availability of substitutes.
Key applications of surfactants include personal care, industrial cleaners, household detergents, and agricultural chemicals.
Regionally, Asia Pacific is one of the leading markets and this trend is expected to continue in future. China has reported the highest product demand in the past, followed by Japan. Both countries, in addition to India, are projected to offer tremendous growth opportunities owing to increase in disposable income and improving consumer lifestyle. Cleaning agents used in manufacturing units are also expected to positively influence the overall industry in the region.
Demand in North America, U.K., and South America is mainly owing to high usage in personal care. Strict government regulations and increasing consumer awareness have contributed to the green products market in these regions. Africa is expected to exhibit relatively slower growth over the forecast period on account of low disposable incomes and availability and usage of cheaper alternatives.
Key players in the global surfactants market include DuPont, Dow Chemicals Company, Shanghai Fine Chemicals, Henkel, BASF, and LG Household & Health Care. Other prominent vendors include Croda, Huntsman, Clariant, Fenchem, and SpechChem. Major customers in the market are mainly FMCG manufacturers. They include Unilever, P&G, JohnsonDiversey, Ecolab, and Reckitt Benckiser. Manufacturers try to establish long-lasting relationships with these major players to help them achieve economies of scale. Manufacturers have been observed undertaking several strategies such as innovation and expansion to optimize costs.
Research Support Specialist, USA