The global linear alkyl benzene market size was valued at USD 7.75 billion in 2016. It is expected to register an estimated CAGR of 4.6% over the forecast period. Rising demand for household and industrial cleaners is expected to stimulate the growth of the market. Increasing consumer spending is also anticipated to work in favor of the market.
UOP process is the most widely accepted method used for production and employs hydrogenated kerosene or n-paraffins as a major feedstock. Nearly all LAB produced is sulfonated to produce LAS/LABSA or directly supplied to various end-use industries. Major petroleum and petrochemical companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Sasol, and Chevron supply kerosene and benzene for production of linear alkyl benzene (LAB). Sasol and Chevron have integrated their operations forward as they use their feedstock to produce LAB in order to reduce supplier’s cost.
The industry exhibits a moderate level of vertical integration. LAB is either converted to lenear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS) or directly supplied for end-user applications. Few LAB producers have their source of kerosene. CEPSA, a Spain based oil company acquired PETRESA to venture into the LAB industry. Forward integration helped the company to get a competitive edge.
In 2013, the North America market was estimated at USD 909.3 million. Heavy-duty laundry liquids emerged as the most significant application segment in the region. In addition, the growth of the cleaning industry is poised to have a positive influence on the regional market during the forecast period.
Demand for linear alkyl benzene is directly influenced by trends in the FMCG industry, which is considered to be a highly dynamic and commoditized industry. LAB is manufactured using petrochemicals and its price is directly linked with prices of petrochemicals such as benzene. Hence, protean prices of benzene can be a major challenge for market participants over the forecast period.
To reduce reliance on petrochemical-derived LAB, the industry has shifted its focus towards development of bio-based alternatives. Major chemical manufacturers have been forming joint ventures and collaborating with leading biotechnology firms to synergize their operations to manufacture bio-based alternatives.
Moreover, there is an increased demand for liquid soaps and detergents as consumers are shifting away from conventional soaps and detergents. Liquid detergents have higher surfactant levels per wash load compared to powder detergents. Liquids detergents are relatively costlier than conventional ones and consumers have been observed to pay that higher price for a premium product due to their increasing spending patterns. This trend is likely to drive the demand during the forecast period.
In 2013, heavy-duty laundry liquids held over 30.0% of the overall market. The segment is projected to dominate the market throughout the forecast period. The segment is expected to post a CAGR of 2.7% from 2014 to 2020.
Lower cost of laundry powders, as compared to laundry liquids, is anticipated to fuel the demand for linear alkylbenzene sulphonate. This, in turn, is estimated to escalate the growth of the linear alkyl benzene market. Moreover, LAS can be easily processed in powder form and has no adverse impact on enzyme stability. However, increased preference towards liquid based detergent products is poised to restrict the demand for LAS in laundry powders over the forecast period.
Light duty dish-washing liquids are intended for use in hand washing of dinnerware, hand laundering of fine fabrics, and hosier in automotive and industrial applications. Most of the companies in the market use LAS in combination with of minute quantities of AES and fatty alkanolamides (FAA). Demand for LAS in light duty washing liquids is expected to grow due to its increasing use in automatic dishwashers. Also, light duty washing liquids also find their use in kitchen applications in stoves and countertops. Such trends are expected to benefit the market growth.
Countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa are sights of high growth rates in the arena. Mature markets such as the U.S., Europe, and Japan are reaching their saturation and are anticipated to register a sluggish growth rate over the forecast period. Hence, the future of the market is largely dependent on consumer spending patterns in emerging markets, particularly in BRICS nations.
The global LAB industry is highly fragmented and is likely to somewhat consolidate due to market participants from China and the Middle East. The global market is forecasted to witness a significant increase in production capacity, particularly in high growth regions such as the Middle East and Asia Pacific. These regions, along with providing substantial potential demand centers, also offer advantages such as low priced feedstock and competitive labor cost, in contrast to North America and Europe. Industry participants are shifting focus towards developing bio-based alternatives to achieve sustainability.
The global market is characterized by presence of a large number of regional manufacturers. The market is still not consolidated and major players had a share of nearly 50.0% in 2013. CEPSA Quimica emerged as the leading company and accounted for 15.7% of the total market in 2013. The company acquired 72.0% of Brazilian company DETEN, thus becoming its majority shareholder and increasing its share in the global market.
Although the market exhibits oligopolistic nature, where major players do not dominate the industry, barriers for new entrants is high owing to raw material procurement issues. Companies are focused on mergers and acquisitions for expansion. PETRESA, a wholly owned subsidiary of CEPSA acquired DETEN to strengthen its foothold in Brazil. ISU Chemical, CEPSA, Fushun Petrochemicals, Huntsman Performance Products, Jin Tung Petrochemicals are among the prominent players operating in the market.
This report forecasts revenue growth at global & regional levels and provides an analysis of the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2012 to 2020. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global linear alkyl benzene market report on the basis of application and region:
Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2012 - 2020)
Linear Alkylbenzene Sulphonate (LAS)
Heavy-duty laundry liquids
Light-duty dish-washing liquids
Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2012 - 2020)
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