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Germany: Ceresana Publishes Market Analysis Report on the Global Market for Surfactants

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

"In 2016, a worldwide turnover of almost $ 31 billion was achieved with surfactants," says Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana. The institute expects another growth of revenues of surfactants of, on average 3.1 % per year.

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Ceresana expects another growth of revenues of surfactants of, on average 3.1 % per year.
Ceresana expects another growth of revenues of surfactants of, on average 3.1 % per year.
(Source: Ceresana)

Constance/Germany — Surfactants can form a foam, facilitate the removal of dirt, and enable the mixture of water and oil. Despite concerns of environmentalists, these surface active chemicals are found in almost every household and are also used in numerous industrial applications.

Surfactants are made from petroleum derivatives but can also be obtained from natural raw materials such as sugar, vegetable oils or vegetable soaps. This study by Ceresana examines anionic, cationic, non-ionic, and other surfactants. The report provides important figures such as demand, import, and export both for these main groups and for individual product types. Anionic surfactants are currently the most important group with a global market share of 49 %. However, the strongest growth market are non-ionic surfactants. Fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAEO) dominate this type.

The Asia-Pacific region is by far the largest consumer of surfactants with a world market share of 38 %. There are clear differences in regard to the used product types: While Asia accounted for a market share of 43 % of alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS) in 2016, consumers in Western Europe and North America dominate the market for alkyl sulfates (FAS), alkyl ether sulfates (FAES), and alcohol ethoxy sulfates (AES) with a share of 60 %.

From Detergents to Paints

Surfactants are used in numerous fields of application. The best-known applications of surfactants are cleaners and detergents for households as they help to remove dirt as washing-active substances. Around 55 % of the overall demand in 2016 was registered by this segment. Besides the segments cleaners and detergents, cosmetics, and textiles, surfactants are also used in numerous industrial application areas. For the application area paints and plastics, Ceresana expects the highest global increase of approx. 2.1 % p.a. until 2024.

Natural Products on the Rise

While demand for laundry detergent in form of powder developed more weakly in the past years, the market for liquid and highly concentrated detergents accounted for a significant growth. In the segment dishwashing detergents, tablets account for a considerable growth. A decisive factor for the development of the cosmetics industry is the rise of private consumption. The increasing demand for surfactants on the part of the cosmetics industry can be explained by the growing awareness of personal body hygiene and the available income that has been increasing in many countries in the past years. This trend is reinforced by the increasing sales of products with natural and organic ingredients.

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