Surfactants Market for Household & Personal Care in North America poised to reach US$ 9.5 Billion in 2025

The North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care is valued at US$ 7,579.9 Million in 2019, the market is expected to witness a surge in demand due to the outbreak of the pandemic “COVID-19” and is projected to expand to the tune of 17.76% taking its market value to US$ 8,926.3 Million in 2020 and is poised to witness slowdown as the Pandemic cools down.

The Market is poised to reach a value of US$ 9,535.8 Million in 2025 growing at 3.8%

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Top Market Opportunities
  • Market Drivers
  • Market Restraints
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Pricing Trends
  • Regulatory Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Distribution Chain Analysis
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix

Definition / Scope

Surfactants are amphiphilic organic compounds, they contain both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups. Surfactants act as a detergent-forming wetting agent, emulsifier, foaming agent, and dispersant.

These are used for detergent formulations and for home or office washing, and can be found in most bathroom cabinets, personal care products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and a number of essential industrial uses.

Surface active agents or surfactants used in personal care and household care detergents are used as emulsifiers. A surfactant’s property changes with the formula and the function it exercises. Surfactants are used in household care, specifically laundry detergents, fabric care solutions, surface cleaners, soap products for dishwashing, and toilet cleaning.

Surfactants are used in personal care products such as hair care, body care products, cosmetics, and other hygiene care products. Consumer preference in the North American market is leaning towards a one-in-all product that can find use in both the personal care and household care segments.

Surfactant TypeExampleUse
AnionicAlkyl Sulfates, Soaps, Calsoft, Texapon50% of overall industrial production, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquids, shampoos
CationicQuaternary Ammonium SaltsUsed with nonionic surfactants but not with anionic, softeners in textiles, anti-static additives
NonionicEthoxylated aliphatic alcohol, polyoxyethylene surfactants, Triton X-100, Span, Terigotal45% of overall industrial production, a wetting agent  in coatings, food-ingredients
AmphotericBetaines, amphoacetatesExpensive, Special-Use e.g. Cosmetics

Market Overview

North America was the second largest regional segment owing to increasing awareness regarding bio-based products along with rising demand for personal care and home care products. North American market was valued at US$ 7,579.9 million in 2019 and is predicted to observe sluggish growth due to stagnant demand in the forecast period.

North America accounts for 1/3 of the global manufacturing for soaps and detergents. United States and Canada account for majority of the manufacturing and consumption of soaps and detergents.

The United States is the region’s largest consumer of surfactants. The use of surfactants has increased over the last few years as a result of the growing personal care industry, which is projected to increase further over the forecast period.

The US soap and detergent industry includes around 630 establishments (single and multi-location firms), with a combined annual revenue of approximately US$ 25 billion. The country’s main surfactant producers include 3M, Arkema Group, BASF SE, Clariant AG and so on.

Impact of COVID-19

The Recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has positively impacted the North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care as it is the major raw-material for the production of Hand Sanitizers and Cleansers as the demand for these products have sky-rocketed due to their usage as protective agent against the pandemic.

Hence, the market is expected to witness a spike in the demand for Surfactants that are used as foaming agents in the Hand Cleansers and Sanitizers.

Product Insights

Sales2015 (US$ Bn)2019 (US$ Bn)2025 (US$ Bn)CAGR (%) 2018-2025

Anionic surfactant emerged as the largest segment of product in 2019, accounting for more than 45% of the overall market. Mounting demand for linear alkyl benzene in cleaners and detergents is estimated to boost growth due to advantageous product characteristics.

Owing to the large availability of nonionic surfactant substitutes with enhanced properties, nonionic surfactants are projected to observe lower growth rate.

During the forecast period, amphoteric is predicted to be the fastest developing product segment. In terms of value, amphoteric surfactants are forecast to grow from 2019 to 2025 at an estimated CAGR of 4.8%. Due to their several properties including conditioning, foaming & foam stabilization, biodegradability, detergence, etc., the segment is projected to observe high demand.

Application Insights

Sales2015 (US$ Bn)2019 (US$ Bn)2025 (US$ Bn)CAGR (%) 2018-2025
Personal Care1.

In 2019, Household segment dominated the application market and represented more than 62% of the overall demand for the product. Increasing demand from the Household segment can be accredited to increase surfactant use in cleaners, soaps, and detergents in households. Household segment is expected to dominate with its market share over the forecast period.

Personal care is expected to witness highest growth over the forecast period. The segment is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 4.9% between 2019 and 2025 in terms of value.

Market Risks

Consolidated Market

North America’s surfactant market structure is fairly consolidated and has undergone major changes in the last three years as a result of mergers and industry acquisitions by key players.

The North American Surfactants market is highly consolidated and concentrated with 4 of the major players occupying 60% of the market share. The consolidated state of the air conditioner market is a bane for the new entrants as it offers little to no market expansion.

The North American Surfactants market is concentrated with few of the global giants occupying a major share of the pie and they are focused on offering innovative products through their R&D activities, which is a no-goer for the new entrants as they have shoe-string margins for their R&D activities.

The consolidated nature of the North American Surfactants market affects the profitability of existing players and acts as a blockade for new entrants.

Top Market Opportunities

Bio-based Surfactants

The need for bio-surfactants in diverse application end-use segments has caused the bio-surfactants providers to focus on the developments and trends of the bio-surfactants market.

The growth in demand reflected by the US market has attracted the sight of various players in the bio-surfactants market. Croda International, a major market contributor and a specialty chemical firm, has stepped in to leverage the lucrative American region by investing in the bio-surfactant production market.

With these non-ionic bio-surfactants the company is all set to give its customers excellent alternatives in formulations of renewable and effective bio-surfactants in place of petro-chemical based surfactant.

Bio-surfactants, because of their effectiveness due to less toxicity, a green reputation, and because they are bio-based, offer more room for business expansion and development to the players in the bio-surfactants industry.

In addition, the new formulations of products containing bio-surfactants used for washing purposes in the household and industrial sectors would help to reduce the environmental impact, thereby opening up opportunities for growth for the player in the bio-surfactants market to a sustainable and environment friendly future.

Household Soap and Detergent – A Huge Market Potential

Surfactant is extensively used in soaps & detergents for household use. Household soaps & detergent segment dominates the surfactant market amongst applications.

Detergent is usually a surfactant mixture, used mainly for cleaning purposes, and is available in varying dilutions. Detergents are composed of alkylbenzenesulfonates, which have soap-like chemical properties but are more soluble in hard water.

For detergents and soaps, the surfactants blend with water and bind themselves to clothes and other cleaning surfaces with the mud. This helps lower the surface tension and removes dirt from the concerned surface.

North America accounts for one-third of the global manufacturing for soaps and detergents, thereby showing significant growth opportunities in the segment.

Growing Demand for Hand Sanitizers and Cleansers due to the outbreak of COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 has offered lucrative opportunities for the Hand-Sanitizers and Cleansers market which has positively impacted the Surfactants segment as it is the primary foaming agent used in the Hand Sanitizers and Cleansers.

The average market demand across the globe is likely to witness a phenomenal rise of over 600% during 2020. The growing demand for sanitizing solutions along with WHO’s preventive advice is expected to boost growth in the market.

Many Companies have started offering Hand Sanitizers due to the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19, For instance, In March 2020, during the Coronavirus outbreak, Dow expanded its hand sanitizer production, providing the product free to hospitals

Other Growth Opportunity in the hand sanitizer market is the advent of fragrance-based hand sanitizers. Vendors have begun investing in the development of fragranced variants of hand cleansers.

This innovation has been delivering positive dividends and boosting market growth. In several countries, the market is witnessing an influx of bio-based or organic ingredients into hygiene products. This augurs well for the growth of the Bio-based Surfactants segment.

Market Trends

Rising Demand for sugar surfactants

Demand for sugar surfactants is on the rise, as they offer superior cleaning efficiency and better compatibility with synthetic co-surfactants compared to other natural surfactants. So the future of the surfactant industry is expected to be the development of new formulations using sugar-based surfactants.

Additionally, surfactants in sugar are mild and do not irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Hence, they are an attractive surfactant choice for personal care products, particularly for facial care products.

Surging demand for cosmetic products

Rising demand for cosmetic products in USA, Mexico and Canada is expected to drive overall market growth over the next few years. Because of the rising demand for styling agents, a thriving hair care industry in the region is expected to boost market growth over the forecast period.

It is expected that the presence of major cosmetic producers on the market, including L’Oréal, Avon, Proctor & Gamble, Elizabeth Arden, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay, will have a positive impact on the Surfactant market over the forecast period.

Increasing Consumer awareness

Consumers today are very aware of the sustainability and environmental effects of ingredients used in household and personal care items. They hold strong opinions against products with synthetic ingredients in personal care, as they want to avoid exposure to harsh chemicals.

In addition, consumer awareness is seen as reshaping dynamics in the market. The overspreading of this trend has led consumers to be suspicious of marketing statements and to demand complete disclosure on the raw materials used their methods of procurement and sustainable practices.

Increasing applications of low foam surfactants

The market for low-foam surfactants is forecast to grow during the forecast period due to improvements in the quality of low-foam surfactants. Another factor contributing to the expansion of the market for low foam surfactants is the increasing applications of low foam surfactants in personal care, and Household segment.

The growing demand for enhanced coatings with better performance and durability and the need for sustainable and greener surfactants has boosted growth in the market for low-foam surfactants.

Growing Demand for natural, sulfate and amide-free household and personal care products

In North America, there is increasing demand for natural, sulfate and amide-free household and personal care products due to health and wellness awareness among both the older and younger population.

In addition, the regulations on the manufacture of synthetic surfactants are stricter because of the higher environmental impact of synthetic products.

For example products derived from natural ingredients have increased the need for sustainable solutions. It has put excessive pressure on producers to focus on the natural-based product segment’s research and development activities.

Stringent Regulation

Nowadays the regulatory environment is becoming more stringent, and this is expected to pose a significant threat to the market for surfactants in household and personal care. For instance, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U. S. Attorney General can take action against any company that markets an unsafe personal care product.

The law provides severe penalties, including seizures, recalls, fines and bans, for personal care products manufacturers that do not meet these strict safety standards. Personal care manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that products comply with the law before they are marketed.

This process includes analyzing a personal care ingredient’s testing and safety data. If the manufacturer is unable to substantiate the safety of a product, the law requires the product to carry a conspicuous warning. 

Price volatility

Price volatility is expected to hinder the market as a result of increasing environmental concerns regarding toxicity and degradability of surfactants along with fluctuating crude oil prices. Volatility in prices of raw materials such as ethylene, benzene and n-paraffin restrains the market growth.

Surfactants are largely based on ethylene, and are therefore prone to fluctuations in price and supply. The increase in production costs due to fluctuations in the prices of raw materials has placed strains on the profit margins of synthetic surfactants.

This uncertainty of supply and demand fluctuation during selling of their goods has made it difficult for the surfactant manufacturers to pass the higher price to their consumers, or they risk losing market share.

Technical Constraints

It is also anticipated that technical constraints resulting in problems with the commercial development of bio-surfactants would impede growth over the forecast period. Many studies investigated the possible use of natural surfactants.

But producing low-cost, multifunctional, biodegradable, and effective surfactants from biomass is challenging.

Many surfactants were made in this case from edible oils, such as soybean and coconut oils, which are more expensive compared to synthetic surfactants.

Several studies have identified starch as a feedstock for surfactant growth, but these surfactants are problematic as they would compete with food source if they were commercialized.

Industry Challenges

Environmental Concerns

One of the biggest challenges faced by the surfactants industry is the level of the environmental effect caused by the use of its various products, like detergents.

Traditional surfactants, based out of petroleum, are used by most of the manufacturers. Cleaning processes require direct application of surfactants or solvents, which most often generate further environmental problems due to the accumulation of these toxic substances.

The majority of available materials are synthesized from petroleum derivatives. They have harmful effects on the environment as they do not degrade easily and are retained as industrial wastes in dumping areas. This is likely to hinder the market growth.

Lack of policy support

Regulatory measures are perhaps the most successful way of increasing the natural surfactants market. Surfactant manufacturers claim that the commercial production of natural surfactants requires supportive and flexible regulatory incentives (e.g., tax cuts).

In addition, regulatory incentives would attract the entry of new participants in the natural surfactants segment into the market. The lack of regulatory incentives such as tax cuts is significantly affecting the growth of the segment.

Technology Trends

Some of the Key technology trends emerging in the North American Surfactants Market for Household & Personal Care Segment include:

Environment and skin friendly laundry products

There is an increasing need for eco-friendly, needs-based solution for the home care cleaning segment. Recently, BASF introduced a wholly bio-based surfactant which is ideal for liquid detergents for children’s and baby clothing and people with allergies. In addition to being gentle on sensitive skin and dermatologically tested, it is effective at washing temperatures of as low as 20°C.

Digitalization adds value for customers

Digital applications including augmented and mixed reality are helping Surfactant companies to make maintenance and production processes more efficient. Interactive 3D projections of objects such as system parts and plant components provide location-independent access to key information, facilitating better decision-making and optimizing knowledge transfer. 

Development of Bio-based rhamnolipid

With the rapid development of surfactant and the large growing use, research and production of surfactant are at surge. The major trend observed is bio-based rhamnolipid. Rhamnolipids are a type of bio-surfactant produced from renewable raw materials which are biodegradable in the majority of instances. Multi-million are being invested in rhamnolipid production.

The scientists are also working to develop conducts of improving the production process these improvements are expected to allow the market to build even larger plants.

Pricing Trends

The determining factor of surfactant pricing is the raw material cost such as crude oil, ethylene, benzene and n-paraffin. There is significant volatility witnessed in the prices of the key raw materials such as ethylene oxide and crude oil.

From 2015 to 2019, ethylene oxide-the raw material in the surfactant production process-was a key driver of surfactant pricing.

Owing to a low production scenario and cross-industry demand (polymer production) for the base raw material, Ethylene, the global ethylene oxide market has experienced a period of volatile supply in recent past. This has led to sluggish growth in the production of end surfactants.

In the next two years (2019-2020), the surfactants industry is expected to stabilize after witnessing a significant change in feedstock dynamics, technical advancement and consumer preferences in the recent past.

Some of the Key Pricing trends witnessed in the segment include

  • As the industry evolved, the prices were driven mainly by different factors based on the maturity of the sector. Prior to 2010, surfactant prices were driven primarily by trends in demand and the extensive use of detergents and personal hygiene products in emerging economies.
  • The advent of new technologies, environmental regulations, capacity expansion in both raw materials and surfactants, innovations, and bio-based raw materials all influenced surfactant prices above and beyond raw material prices by the post-2010 period.
  • In 2018, Prices of surfactants decreased, regardless of the higher prices of crude oil during Q3. Due to competition and buyers’ reluctance to quote against the raw materials trend in a balanced market scenario, suppliers were not able to increase their prices parallel to that of raw materials.

Regulatory Trends

The Countries in North America have enforced strict regulations that oversees the usage of natural, green, and bio-degradable surfactants for the manufacture of Household and Personal Care products such as Soaps, Detergents, Cleansers and Shampoos. Some of the key regulations enforced in North America include:

Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 (USA)

The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 is the only federal law that holds cosmetic companies accountable for the safety of the ingredients in their products; requires transparency in the supply chain and the sharing of safety data by industry to help level the playing field for small, clean cosmetic companies; closes the federal labelling loophole that allows for secret, often toxic chemicals.

The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 focus on the safety of users and use of natural products for Cosmetics and Personal Care products. This regulation augurs well for the usage of bio-based surfactants that are easily bio-degradable.

Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations (Canada)

All cosmetics sold in Canada must be safe to use and must not pose any health risk. They must meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations.

The Cosmetic Regulations and the Food and Drugs Act require that cosmetics sold in Canada be manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed and stored under sanitary conditions. The manufacturer and importer must notify Health Canada that it is selling the product and provide a list of the product’s ingredients.

Additionally, cosmetics are subject to the requirements of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations and any chemicals found in cosmetics may be subject to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

This regulation from the Canadian Government oversees the safety of the user and also enforces environmental regulations which adds impetus for the production of bio-based surfactants and augurs well for the growth of the segment.

Market Size and Forecast

The Market Size of the North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care is valued at US$ 7,579.9 Million in 2019 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% to reach a market size of US$ 9,535.8 Million in 2025.

The North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care is expected to witness a surge in demand in 2020 due to the outbreak of the Pandemic “COVID-19” and is expected to reach a market size of US$ 8,926.3 Billion in 2020 and witness slowdown as the pandemic is expected to normalize in the next 2 years.

The Market Demand in Volume terms is estimated at 5,226 Kilotons in 2019 and is expected to expand at a growth rate of 3.6% to reach a volume of 6,461 Kilotons in 2025.

Market Size by Product

Anionic Surfactants dominates the market based on product segment constituting 45% of the total market share and market size of US$ 3,410.96 Million in 2019 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% to reach a market size of US$ 4,191.7 Million in 2025.

It is expected in terms of volume the Anionic Surfactant segment is expected to grow at 3.3% to attain a volume demand of 2,857.5 Kilotons in 2025 from 2351.7 Kilotons in 2019.

Nonionic Surfactants are expected to witness a significant slowdown in growth, constituting a market share of 36% and market size of US$ 2,728.8 Million in 2019 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% to reach a market size of US$ 3,373.9. In terms of Volume, the demand is expected to touch 2,299.4 Kilotons in 2025 from 1,881.4 Kilotons in 2019.

Cationic Surfactants hold a market share of 11% and market size of US$ 833.8 Million in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4% to reach a market size of US$ 1,055.02 Million in 2025. In terms of Volume, the Cationic Surfactant segment is expected to witness significant demand in volume to 719.08 Kilotons in 2025 growing at 3.9% from 574.9 Kilotons in 2019.

Amphoteric Surfactants is the fastest growing segment based on Product category which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% in the forecast period (2019 to 2025), recording a market size of US$ 606.39 Million in 2019 and is forecasted to reach a market size of US$ 807.99 Million in 2025.

This segment is expected to witness demand of 544.5 Kilotons in terms of Volume from a level of 418.08 Kilotons in 2019.

Market Size by Application

Based on Application, the household segment dominated the market with a market share of 62% and a market size of US$ 4,699.5 Million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% to reach a market size of US$ 5,884.2 Million in 2025.

In terms of Volume, the demand is expected to grow from 3,240 Kilotons in 2019 to 4,005.9 Kilotons in 2025 attaining a growth of 3.6% in the forecast period (2019 to 2025)..

The Personal Care Segment is the fastest growing in the market registering a growth rate of 4.9% thereby generating revenues to the tune of US$ 2,532.7 Million in 2025 from US$ 1,900.8 Million in 2019. In terms of Volume, the personal care segment is expected to reach a demand of 2,271.8 Kilotons in 2025 from 1,724.6 Kilotons in 2019.

Market Size by Country

North America accounts for 1/3 of the global manufacturing for soaps and detergents. United States and Canada account for majority of the manufacturing and consumption of soaps and detergents.

United States accounts for 64% of the region’s demand for Surfactants as it is one of the largest markets for Household and Personal Care products. USA constituted market size of US$ 4,851.1 Million in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% to reach a market size of US$ 5,997.9 Million in 2025.

In terms of Volume, a demand of 3344.6 Kilotons is witnessed in 2019 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% to reach a demand of 4,111.4 Kilotons in Volume in 2025.

Canada is the fastest growing market in the North American Market, showing a significant growth rate of 4.5% and constituting a market share of 22% thereby generating revenues to the tune of US$ 1,667.8 Million in 2019 and is forecasted to reach a market size of US$ 2,171.9 Million in 2025.

The demand is set to exceed 1, 480.1 Kilotons in Volume in 2025 from 1,149.7 Kilotons in 2019 growing at a CAGR of 4.3% in the forecast period (2019 to 2025).

Mexico is poised to grow at a CAGR of 4.1% and holds a market size of US$ 757.9 Million in 2019 and expected to reach a market size of US$ 964.5 Million in 2025. In terms of Volume it is expected to record a demand of 657.5 Kilotons in 2025 from an estimated volume of 522.6 Kilotons recorded in 2019.

The other significant economies in North America such as Jamaica, Cuba, Greenland and Costa Rica are expected to witness significant demand for household and personal care products. This segment of the market is expected to witness a significant growth rate of 4.5% in terms of value and 4.3% in Volume in the forecast period (2019 to 2025).

Market Outlook

The Market Size of the North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care is estimated to be US$ 7,579.9 Million in 2019 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% to reach a market size of US$ 9,535.8 Million in 2025.

 The Market Demand in Volume terms is projected to be 5,226 Kilotons in 2019 and is expected to expand at a growth rate of 3.6% to reach a volume of 6,461 Kilotons in 2025.

Based on Product, the Anionic surfactants led the surfactants market in 2019. This is owed to its low cost and ease of availability. In addition, it is used in a wide variety of applications. The growing awareness regarding cleaning and hygiene are other factors driving its demand.

On the basis of Application, Household segment led the surfactants market in 2019. Surfactants are used various products such as dishwashing detergents, laundry detergents, laundry and dishwashing soaps, carpet cleaners, and floor cleaners, among others. 

They are also used in home care products to remove oil, dirt, and unwanted particles from fabrics, dishes, and other surfaces.

USA is the largest market in the region holding a market share of 64% but the growth is poised to slow down due to the stagnating demand in for Personal Care and Household products such as Soap, Detergent and Shampoo in the region.

Technology Roadmap

The technological advancements in the North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care is promising with larger companies focusing on Research & Development Activities by spending Millions of dollars to develop Bio-based Surfactants and Green Surfactants that are advanced in terms of the technology and at reduced cost while a bio-based surfactant is produced from biomass.

Bio-based surfactants sustainable biomass is processed through bio-refinery. The other focus area is the development of eco-friendly Green Surfactants that are bio-degradable.

The prime driving factor is the environmental and regulatory pressure implied on the surfactant manufacturers to focus on developing bio-based surfactants and Green Surfactants. The major trend witnessed is the development of Rhamolipids as Green Surfactants.

Distribution Chain Analysis

The Distribution Chain of the North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care constitutes the following key players: Raw Material Supplier, Surfactant Manufacturer, Distributor, Consumer, and Customer.

The key raw materials used for the manufacture of Surfactants include ethylene oxide, benzene and n-paraffin which is acquired from other suppliers and shipped to the Surfactant Manufacturer.

The Surfactants are manufactured after they are being approved by regulators such as FDA&C and labelled and shipped by the Manufacturer to the Distributor and then through the distribution channels such as Wholesale Channels and Retail Channels reach the consumers who are primarily the manufacturers of Household and Personal Care Products such as dishwashing detergents, laundry detergents, laundry and dishwashing soaps, carpet cleaners, and floor cleaners, among others..

Competitive Landscape

In terms of competition, the surfactant market structure in North America is fairly consolidated and has seen significant changes over the last three years due to mergers and acquisitions by main players on the market.

Competitors range from large multinational corporations to relatively small private companies. Some firms supply only commodity or specialty surfactants, while others offer a wide selection of products. BASF, Stepan, Sasol, Nouryon, Dow Inc.,Evonik, Solvay, Kao Corporation, Croda, Clariant and Oxiteno (part of Ultra Group) are the key market players in the North American Surfactant Market for Household & Personal Care.

BASF SE is among the leading surfactant manufacturers for the household & personal care segment. The company has undertaken expansion and new product launch as its growth strategy in the surfactants market.

For instance, in October 2019, the firm launched Texapon SFA and Dehyton SFA surfactants in October 2019. In October 2019, the company also increased its Alkyl Polyglucosides (APG) production capacity by an additional 10,000 metric tonnes. APGs are non-ionic surfactants and are made from 100% natural and renewable feedstocks.

Nouryon is another leading player in the surfactants market for household & personal care. The company focuses on expansion, new product launch, and agreement to remain competitive in the surfactants market.

For instance, in March 2019, the company launched a next-generation surfactant used as additive, Ethylan EF-60, which enables formulators to ensure low temperature storage stability of VOC-free water-borne latex.

Competitive Factors

Various companies focus on strategies for organic growth, such as product launches, product approvals and others such as patents and events. Activities witnessed in the market were inorganic growth strategies, acquisitions, and partnership & collaborations.

Such practices have paved the way for market leaders to grow their business and customer base. With the increasing demand for anionic surfactants on the global market , market payers from the anionic surfactants market are anticipated to lucrative growth opportunities in the future.

Recent Market Developments include:

In March 2020, Stepan Company acquired NatSurFact business from Logos Technologies LLCs, a rhamnolipid-based line of renewable-derived bio-surfactants. Given their favorable biodegradability , low toxicity and, in some cases, unique antimicrobial properties, rhamnolipids, a class of bio-surfactants, are attractive.

In December 2019, Unilever launched a biosurfactant, Rhamnolipid, in partnership with Evonik. Rhamnolipid is 100% renewable and biodegradable in nature. It’s also ultra-mild on the skin which distinguishes it from other surfactants.

Key Market Players

BASF SE is a chemical company. The Company operates in six segments, including chemicals, plastics, performance products, functional solutions, agricultural solutions, and oil and gas. BASF offers products for the chemical, automotive, construction, agriculture, oil, plastics, electrical, electronics, furniture, and paper industries, and provides a range of system solutions and services.

Stepan Company and its subsidiaries produce specialty and intermediate chemicals which are sold to other manufacturers and then made into a variety of end products. The Company’s products include surfactants, polymers, and specialty products. Stepan’s customers include manufacturers of cleaning or washing compounds, paints, cosmetics, food and beverages, and other manufacturers.

Sasol Limited produces oil and chemical products. The Company offers products such as automotive lubricants, greases, cleansers, fuels, polymers, and specialty gases. Sasol markets its products worldwide. Sasol develops and commercialises technologies, including synthetic fuels technologies, and produces different liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity.

Nouryon Finance B.V. manufactures specialty chemical. The Company offers polymer additives, bleaching, surfactants, cellulose derivatives, chlorine and caustic products, and oxidizing chemicals for products such as paper, plastics, building materials, food, pharmaceuticals, and personal care items. Nouryon Finance serves customers worldwide.

The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC) is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States, and a subsidiary of Dow Inc. The company is among the three largest chemical producers in the world. 

The Company manufactures and supplies chemicals for liquid injection molding, architecture fabrication, leather, textiles, automobiles, rubber consumer goods, and food industries. Dow serves customers worldwide.

Evonik Industries AG (Evonik) is a Germany-based specialty chemicals company that operates in four segments: The Nutrition and Care segment produces specialty chemicals, mainly for use in consumer goods for daily needs and food, as well as nutrition for animal food and healthcare products; the Resource Efficiency segment offers material solutions for environment-friendly and energy-efficient products used in the automotive, adhesives and construction industries, among others; the Performance Materials segment produces polymer materials and their intermediates, mainly for the rubber, plastics and agriculture sectors, and the Services segment comprises site management, utilities and waste management, as well as technical, process technology, engineering and logistics services for the chemicals segments and external customers at the Company’s sites. Its majority shareholder is RAG Stiftung.

Solvay SA manufactures chemicals and plastics. The Company produces soda ash, hydrogen peroxide, functional polymers, silica, surfactants, food and fragrance flavors, and other specialty polymers.

Solvay offers its products to numerous industries, including the aerospace, alternative energy, automotive, chemical, construction, consumer goods, food and beverage, and oil and gas markets.

Kao Corporation is a Japan-based company engaged in the manufacture and sale of consumer products and chemical products. The Company operates in five business segments. Cosmetic segment produces counseling cosmetics and self-cosmetics. Skin Care & Hair Care segment produces skin care products, such as makeup soaps, facial cleansers and whole-body cleaners, as well as hair care products, such as shampoos, rinses and hair styling agents.

Human Health Care segment produces food and beverage products, sanitary products and personal health products such as bath salts, toothpastes and toothbrushes.

Croda International Plc is a United Kingdom-based specialty chemical company. The Company’s marketing and research activities are organized into four global market sectors: Personal Care, Life Sciences, Performance Technologies and Industrial Chemicals. Personal Care sector focuses on ingredients for skin, hair, sun protection and color cosmetic products. Life Sciences sector comprises three businesses, Health Care, Crop Protection and Seed Enhancement.

Clariant AG is a Switzerland-based producer of specialty chemicals. It operates through four business areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis, Natural Resources, and Plastics and Coatings. The Care Chemicals business area produces ingredients for laundry detergents, fabric softeners, disinfectants and dishwashing detergents, as well as plasticizers.

Oxiteno, is a producer of specialty chemicals. Oxiteno is a producer of ethylene glycols, ethanolamines, glycol ethers and methyl-ethyl-ketone in Brazil, as well as a producer of fatty alcohol in Latin America.

Oxiteno’s products are used in a range of industrial sectors, such as cosmetics, detergents, crop protection chemicals, polyester, packaging, coatings and oil industry. Oxiteno’s principal commodity chemicals are ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol. Oxiteno’s principal specialty chemicals include a range of products that are used as surfactants, softeners, dispersants, emulsifiers and hydraulic fluids.

The principal ethylene glycol produced by Oxiteno is mono-ethylene glycol (MEG). Oxiteno also produces di and tri-ethylene glycol.

Strategic Conclusion

The Surfactants segment is one of the major drivers for the growth of the soaps and Detergents Market in North America as North America accounts for 1/3 of the global manufacturing for soaps and detergents.

United States and Canada account for majority of the manufacturing and consumption of soaps and detergents. The Market is driven by factors such as Growing demand for cosmetic products and Increasing Consumer awareness.

The recent regulation by the FDA&C (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) on stricter environmental norms has pushed the players operating in the segment to increase their R&D spending to develop bio-based surfactants and greener surfactants.

Though growth bottlenecks exist, the segment offers a plethora of opportunities to the market players to innovate and develop bio-based surfactants and Green surfactants that are low-cost, multifunctional, effective and bio-degradable,

There is stiff competition in the Market as it is already fairly consolidated and the companies that innovate their product-line will be at a vantage point if they invest on their R&D activities.



  • SMEs – Small & Medium Enterprises
  • R&D – Research & Development
  • FDA – U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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