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Surfactants Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Anionic, Nonionic, Cationic, and Amphoteric), By Application (Home Care, Personal Care, Textile, Food & Beverages, Industrial & Institutional Cleaning, Plastics, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102385



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The global surfactants market size was USD 39.42 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow from USD 41.22 billion in 2021 to USD 57.81 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 4.9% during the 2021-2028 period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with the product witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of -2.5% in 2020. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Surfactants are termed as chemical compounds with low surface tension, gas and liquid, liquid and solid, or two particles liquid. Surging usage in home, as well as personal care, textile, and food & beverage industries, are probable to have an affirmative effect on the market growth. Nonstop development within these sectors is anticipated to optimistically impact the market during the forecast period. It plays a vital role in cleaning applications. It is further added to cleaning agents, such as detergent, owing to particular properties permitting them as dispersing agents, wetting, washing, and emulsifying. They are also utilized as an ingredient in lubricants such as shaving creams for the effortless eradication of hair. Moreover, growing consciousness in terms of personal hygiene and living style is progressively developing the product's demand, thereby, driving the surfactants market growth.

 Inclination towards Health and Hygiene to Boost Market amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Consumers have adapted and responded to the challenges of COVID-19, leading to intriguing consumer trends. The pandemic has led to the rapid expansion of the household care industry due to growing concerns about cleanliness and hygiene. Innovation is currently driving sales across household care product categories, which still accounts for the same portion of sales compared to the sales of previous years. According to the Household and Commercial Products Association (HCPA), the market value is around USD 180 billion per annum for home care products such as cleaner, and disinfectants for homes and commercial environments. Increasing consumption of the aforementioned products will surge the demand for the product and boost market growth subsequently. In addition, growing awareness about products such as hand sanitizer due to the pandemic is also a factor driving market size.

Furthermore, the virus spread has severely affected industries such as textile, plastics, and cosmetics, causing a temporary shutdown of manufacturing facilities, thus leading to a decline in sales and disturbance in the supply-demand chain. The global lockdown has caused disruptions for textile manufacturers, distributors, and retailers leading to a decline in sales of textile goods. This disruption in sales has affected the demand and consumption of textile-related products, leading to a substantial decrease in market growth. 


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Increasing Demand for Green and Bio-based Surfactant Products to Favor Market Growth

The growing demand for sustainable technologies has led to the adoption of substitutes in petroleum-based synthetic products. Bio-surfactants have several potential applications across the products, such as emulsifying agents, biocides for sulfate-reducing bacteria, anticorrosive, and many other innovative applications. Due to versatility and efficiency, they are used in the industries such as home care, industrial cleaning, food & beverages, and others.

Bio-based agents are expected to become known as multifunctional materials derived from microorganism substrates miscible hydrophilic and oily/hydrocarbon type carbon sources in the culture medium. Biotechnology serves as a significant factor in developing bio-based products that can substitute petroleum-based products and are also environmentally friendly. Rising concerns over the environment and resource preservation are further propelling product demand.


Increasing Demand for Various Applications to Aid Market Growth

The growing demand for the product from various applications such as home care, textiles, and food & beverage shall augment the global market. Home care application is one of the major factors driving the market attributed to the rising consumer consciousness towards hygiene. The product offers excellent protection from infections and avoids spread of the disease. Rising demand for sanitizers, detergents, cleaning products, shampoo, and hand wash shall support the market growth. Furthermore, in industrial cleaning, various chemical ingredients are used to clean several types of soils and by-products excreted during the manufacturing process.

The rising population has increased the demand for food & beverages. Thus, the manufacturers have increased their production to sustain the growing demand, as the product is used as additives, further creating market growth opportunities.


Volatility in Raw Material Prices to Hinder Market Growth

The price of raw materials is volatile owing to environmental concerns coupled with crude oil prices.  The ill effects of surfactants on the environment such as degradability and toxicity affect the prices of raw materials. Various regional governments have mandated regulations for environmental protection and the use of resources. Low raw material prices and technological constraints in the commercial production of petroleum products are expected to hinder market growth during the forecast period.


By Type Analysis

Anionic Segment to Hold Major Share in the Market

On the basis of type, the market is segmented into anionic, nonionic, cationic, and amphoteric. The anionic surfactants dominated the market due to the growing demand for linear alkyl benzene used in cleaning products and detergents. Anionic creates a high amount of foam when mixed with the base, making it a highly used additive for detergent and cleaning products. Non-ionic are usually low-foaming and non-foaming agents, making them ideal for use in emulsifying oils. The advantageous characteristics of low foaming are estimated to boost market growth.

Cationic have a positive charge that makes them useful in anti-static products, such as fabric softeners. It also serves as an antimicrobial agent, having major use in disinfectants. Furthermore, amphoteric have dual charges on the hydrophilic end and are often applied as additives in shampoo and cosmetic products. The improving lifestyles of consumers and rise in disposable income are likely to drive the cosmetic industry.

By Application Analysis

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Home Care Segment to Hold Major Share in Market during Forecast Period

On the basis of application, the market is segmented into home care, personal care, textile, food & beverages, industrial & institutional cleaning, plastics, and others. The home care segment dominated the market in 2019 due to growing consumer demand for detergent, cleaners, sanitizers, hand wash, and other products. The pandemic has resulted in high awareness about hygiene among consumers, which has caused increased consumption of consumer goods, thus driving demand.

Food & beverage applications surfactants are primarily used for food additives/ingredients and treating agents for food contact surfaces. Moreover, the product is also used as emulsifier and antioxidant during food formulations. In some cases, the product has also shown antimicrobial properties for protecting against food pathogens.


Asia Pacific Surfactants Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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Asia Pacific dominated the global market and was valued at USD 15.81 billion in 2020. The growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for home care and personal care products from developing countries such as China, Japan, and India. Economic development has led to the improvement in the lifestyle of consumers, causing high demand for personal care products such as shampoo, shaving cream, and hand wash. Low labor and manufacturing costs in these emerging economies propel many industry players to shift towards this region to achieve global presence and growth. China is the major consumer and net importer of nonionic products resulting in growth potential.

North America is expected to hold a significant share in the global market attributed to the region’s rapid industrialization and rising disposable income. The increasing number of manufacturers of bio-based surfactants due to the feasible economic status of countries in the region is driving the market. Growing demand for homecare and cosmetics products, and changes in consumer lifestyle, shall drive the market size in this region. Many producers such as Chevron, Dow, and Formosa Plastics have increased their production of ethylene oxide, among which 23% of purified ethylene grade is used to produce surfactants.

The European market is experiencing significant market growth for the past few years due to the increased demand from home care, and personal care industries. As Europe is a major region for the fashion industry, the rising cosmetic and textile industries shall augment the market growth. Germany is a major producer of detergents, cleaners, and other products that uses surfactants as raw material. Growing economy and product availability has resulted in the presence of constituents in products from renewable natural materials accounting for about 50% of total market shares in Europe.

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Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are expected to experience substantial growth during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the abundance of petroleum and crude oil present in the region. Rapid industrialization and urbanization are further supporting market growth. Whereas, in Latin America, the rise of the plastic and textile industry supports market growth.


Joint Ventures and Capacity Expansion Are Key Strategic Initiatives Implemented by Companies

Key players operating in the industry are Akzonobel N.V, Clariant AG, BASF SE, Kao Corporation, and others. Companies profiled are involved in capacity enlargement, with new product development, acquisition, and joint venture, thus gaining a competitive edge globally. For example, Lion Corporation is developing environment-friendly ways to manufacture bio-based anionic surfactants. The company uses anionic surfactant methyl ester sulfonate (MES) that is derived from palm oil as washing ingredients for the laundry detergents

Solvay has expanded the company footprint in India for the personal care market by making deals with local producers. This benefits the company in gaining market position and improving its global presence.


  • Akzonobel N.V (Arnhem, Netherlands)


  • April 2021 – Unilever partnered with LanzaTech and India Glycols to produce a surfactant made from industrial carbon emissions. The innovative shift in production utilizes biotechnologies and a newly configured supply chain between the three partners, who are working together for the first time. The new surfactant will be used in an OMO (Persil) laundry capsule, which will launch in China on April 22nd, World Earth Day.

  • July 2020 –Pilot Chemical launched Aspire Surfactant Blends highly versatile and processable concentrated blends of powerful anionic, nonionic, and cationic surfactants. With this launch, the company will serve its products in home care, industrial and institutional markets.


An Infographic Representation of Surfactants Market

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The global market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as competitive landscape, sources, application, and products. Also, the report offers insights into key market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion); Volume (Million Ton)




By Type

  • Anionic

  • Non-ionic

  • Cationic

  • Amphoteric

By Application

  • Home Care

  • Personal Care

  • Textile

  • Food & Beverages

  • Industrial &Institutional Cleaning

  • Plastics

  • Others


By Geography

  • North America (By Application)

    • U.S. (By Application)

    • Canada (By Application)

  • Europe (By Application)

    • Germany (By Application)

    • France (By Application)

    • U.K. (By Application)

    • Netherlands (By Application)

    • Spain (By Application)

    • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • Asia Pacific (By Application)

    • China (By Application)

    • India (By Application)

    • Japan (By Application)

    • South Korea (By Application)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • Latin America (By Application)

    • Brazil (By Application)

    • Mexico (By Application)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Application)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Application)

    • Saudi Arabia (By Application)

    • South Africa (By Application)

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa (By Application)


Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market worth was USD 39.42 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 57.81 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the market size stood at USD 39.42 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 4.9%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).

The anionic surfactants segment is expected to be the leading material.

The rising consumer goods industry in developing countries is expected to drive market growth.

AkzoNobel N.V, Clariant AG, BASF SE, and Kao Corporation are the top players in the market.

Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2020.

Growing demand for cleaning products is the key factor driving the adoption of surfactants.

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