Asia-Pacific is the largest surfactant outlet, with approximately a 37 percent share of global consumption, followed by North America and Western Europe.
Analysts from research firm Ceresana forecast countries in Asia-Pacific to increase their shares in global surfactant demand, mainly at the expense of Western Europe and North America, with South America also expecting strong growth, due to increases in production and consumption in Brazil.
Ceresana Research expects the global surfactant market to generate revenues of more than $41bn in 2018; translating to an average annual growth of 4.5 percent.
Consumption largest in cosmetics
Surfactants are used in many industrial applications, such as agrochemicals, photo chemicals, oil field chemicals, construction materials, foodstuffs, and adhesives, with body care products and cosmetics holding a 9.5 percent market share.
And it is cosmetic and body care products that Ceresana predicts will record the largest growth in the coming years.
“Surfactant consumption is expected to see the biggest gain in the body care and cosmetic markets,” states the report.
Consumption is forecast to be strongest for cosmetics in the emerging markets, such as Asia-Pacific where it is expected to grow by 4.3 percent per year and South America, where consumption is forecast to rise by 4.8 percent annually; above the overall market average.
A look back and a look ahead
The report analyzes how surfactant consumption will develop in the individual markets, as well as taking a look at global consumption in 2010.
Global demand for anionic surfactants was approximately 6.5 million tons in 2010. Anionic and non-ionic surfactants combined account for roughly 85 percent of global demand for surfactants.
Despite the global trend towards non-ionic surfactants, which Ceresana expects to see the strongest growth between 2010 and 2018, anionic surfactants will remain the second-largest product group, especially in Africa, the Middle East, and Asian countries, with the exception of Japan and South Korea.