The global surfactants market demand was 15,641.7 kilotons in 2014. It is projected to expand at a CAGR of 4.3% from 2015 to 2022. Rising bio-based product demand particularly in Europe and North America is expected to fuel the overall market over the forecast period. Consumer awareness along with government support towards bio-based product manufacturing and consumption is estimated to foster the industry growth.
Surfactants are mostly used to decrease the surface tension between any two liquids or a solid and a liquid in the form of emulsifiers, detergents, wetting agents, dispersants, or foaming agents. They find application in several end-use industries such as petroleum, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and cosmetics. Continuous development in the sectors is anticipated to benefit the industry over the next seven years.
Low raw material prices along with lesser production costs are projected to help penetration over the forecast period. Surfactants provide stability and viscosity to foam and emulsion. This is further predicted to drive the demand for the product from several end-user industries over the next seven years.
Price volatility owing to rising environmental concerns regarding surfactant toxicity and degradability along with fluctuating crude oil prices is predicted to hinder the market. Technological constraints resulting in problems related to commercial production of bio-surfactants is also anticipated to hinder the growth over the forecast period.
In addition, increasing awareness among consumers towards using eco-friendly products in matured economies including Europe and the U.S. is anticipated to drive the demand for biosurfactants. Also, various regulations imposed by many economies like the European Union have propelled industries to invest in bio-based technologies that are environmentally friendly.
Anionic surfactant emerged as the largest product segment accounting for more than 45%of the overall share in 2014. Mounting demand for linear alkylbenzene in cleaners and detergents due to advantageous characteristics of the product is estimated to boost the growth.
Nonionic surfactants are projected to observe lower growth rates owing to large availability of substitutes of nonionic surfactants with enhanced properties. Amphoteric is predicted to be the fastest developing product segment over the forecast period.
In terms of value, amphoteric surfactants are predicted to grow at an estimated CAGR of 5.4% from 2015 to 2022. The segment is projected to observe high demand owing to their several properties which include conditioning, foaming & foam stabilization, biodegradability, detergency, etc.
On the basis of applications, the market is categorized as elastomers & plastics, industrial & institutional cleaners, personal care, home care, pharmaceuticals, food, soaps, or detergents crop protection and textiles. Home care and the personal segment are anticipated to witness high growth as compared to other segments.
Home care dominated the application market in 2014 and accounted for more than 40% of the overall product demand. Increasing demand from the home care segment can be accredited to increasing surfactant usage in household cleaners, soaps, and detergents. Home care is anticipated to lose its share to some of the other segments over the forecast period.
Personal care is expected to witness the highest growth over the forecast period. In terms of value, the segment is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 5.7% from 2015 to 2022. The food processing segment is estimated to be the fastest-growing following personal care segment over the forecast period.
The textiles application segment is projected to witness less demand over the next seven years. This is mainly owing to growing substitution of other surfactants by other products in the industry. However, increasing use of surfactants in several end-use applications such as personal care, food, and soaps and detergents is anticipated to drive the market.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional segment owing to increasing awareness regarding bio-based products along with rising demand for personal care and home care products. APAC market was valued at USD 8,500 million in 2014 and is also predicted to be the fastest-growing regional market over the forecast period.
APAC was followed by North America, which accounted for over 28% in 2014. North America and Europe are expected to observe sluggish growth due to stagnant end-use industries in the region. Economic slowdown in the region has also adversely affected the market in North America and Europe.
Emerging economies including India, China, Thailand has shown an upward trend in consumption of surfactants due to rising disposable income of population. Low manufacturing and labor cost in emerging economies including China and India have propelled many industry players having bases in matured economies to shift those to emerging economies to achieve economies of scale.
The global surfactant market is quite concentrated with top four participants accounting for more than 65% of the total market share in 2014. BASF-Cognis is the leading player holding more than 30% of the overall share. BASF is followed by Kao Corporation and Akzo Nobel. Other key players include Rhodia, Clariant, Stepan Company, Croda International, Evonik Industries, Huntsman Corporation, etc.
The global surfactant market is driven by the presence of several established industry players. Most of the industry participants are adapting themselves to be present across the supply chain with a high level of business interest. Factors such as high bargaining power of consumers, low threat of new entrants, low bargaining power of suppliers, low threat from its substitutes, and heavy investment cost have made the industry highly competitive. Hence, industry rivalry is extremely high.
New product development is the key strategy implemented by most of the industry participants. Additionally, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, coupled with effective marketing strategies are expected to be some of the major strategies used by industry players. Media platforms are anticipated to be used on a large scale for product differentiation and promotion.
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Surfactants are the key ingredients used in the formulation of soaps, and detergents. The recent COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent health measures recommended by the World Health Organization and adopted across all nations have triggered the demand for soaps and liquid hand wash. This trend shall have a considerable impact on the surfactant demand pattern. The updated report will account for COVID-19 as a key market contributor.