Surfactants Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The Surfactants Market is segmented by Type (Anionic Surfactants, Cationic Surfactants, Non-ionic Surfactants, Amphoteric Surfactants, and Silicone Surfactants), Origin (Synthetic Surfactants and Bio-based Surfactants), Application (Household Soap and Detergent, Personal Care, Lubricants and Fuel Additives, Industry and Institutional Cleaning, Food Processing, Oilfield Chemicals, Agricultural Chemicals, Textile Processing, and Other Applications), and Geography (Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, South America, and Middle-East & Africa).

Market Snapshot

surfactant market size
Study Period: 2016 - 2026
Base Year: 2021
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: Asia Pacific
CAGR: >4 %
surfactants industry major players

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Market Overview

The surfactants market was estimated at over USD 36 billion in 2020, and the market is projected to register a CAGR of over 4% in terms of revenue during the forecast period (2021-2026).

The market was negatively impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. Several countries were forced to go in lockdown owing to the pandemic scenario, which led people to minimize the usage of personal vehicles, thus, creating a negative impact on the lubricant and fuel demand and, in turn, decreasing the demand for fuel additives and surfactants. However, the consciousness regarding personal hygiene and clean surrounding has increased in the current situation, which has stimulated the demand for personal and household cleaning products, thus, enhancing the market growth of surfactants.

  • Over the short term, the growing personal care industry in Asia-Pacific and the growing demand for oleochemicals are driving the growth of the surfactants market.
  • Household soap and detergent is the largest application for surfactants in terms of volume. Surfactants are used as ingredients in a variety of products in the personal care segment, such as foaming agents, dispersants, emulsifiers, solubilizing agents, cleansers, and conditioners, among others. The personal care industry accounted for a healthy share of the global market, thereby augmenting the growth of the market.
  • Environmental issues address certain key concerns that include toxicity, biodegradability, eutrophication, and lifecycle analysis. 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. This is likely to hinder the market growth.
  • As the demand for specialty surfactants is growing rapidly in various applications, the market for specialty surfactants is projected to increase drastically during the forecast period, thus, providing opportunities for innovations in application-specific products.
  • The Asia-Pacific region is expected to dominate the market and is also likely to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Scope of the Report

Surfactants are materials that lower the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid. It may act as a wetting agent, emulsifier, foaming agent, and dispersant in products like paints, emulsions, adhesives, inks, biocides (sanitizers), shampoos, toothpaste, firefighting (foams), detergents, insecticides, and others. The surfactants market is segmented by type, origin, application, and geography. By type, the market is segmented into anionic surfactants, cationic surfactants, non-ionic surfactants, amphoteric surfactants, and silicone surfactants. By origin, the market is segmented into synthetic surfactants and bio-based surfactants. By application, the market is segmented into household soap and detergent, personal care, lubricants and fuel additives, industry and institutional cleaning, food processing, oilfield chemicals, agricultural chemicals, textile processing, and other applications. The report also covers the market size and forecasts for the surfactants market in 14 countries across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done on the basis of volume (kiloton) and value (USD million).

Anionic Surfactants
Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfolane (LAS or LABS)
Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfates (AES)
Alpha Olefin Sulfonates (AOS)
Secondary Alkane Sulfonate (SAS)
Methyl Ester Sulfonates (MES)
Other Anionic Surfactants
Cationic Surfactants
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
Other Cationic Surfactants
Non-ionic Surfactants
Alcohol Ethoxylates
Ethoxylated Alkyl-phenols
Fatty Acid Esters
Other Non-ionic Surfactants
Amphoteric Surfactants
Silicone Surfactants
Other Types
Synthetic Surfactants
Bio-based Surfactants
Chemically Synthesized Bio-based Surfactants
Bio Surfactant
Household Soap and Detergent
Personal Care
Lubricants and Fuel Additives
Industry and Institutional Cleaning
Food Processing
Oilfield Chemicals
Agricultural Chemicals
Textile Processing
Emulsion Polymerization
Other Applications
Rest of Asia-Pacific
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
South America
Rest of South America
Middle-East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Rest of Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Anionic Surfactants to Dominate the Market

  • Anionic surfactant belongs to the class of surface-active reagents, in which the head of the surfactant macromolecule remains negatively charged. This allows it to bind to impurities and particles suspended in the liquid.
  • Anionic surfactants account for approximately half of the total share of the surfactants market. A growing focus on environmental regulations is expected to increase the demand for anionic surfactants.
  • These surfactants are the most common type of surfactants found in low-moisture carpet cleaners, including encapsulation products and traditional shampoos, as they make a lot of foam when agitated, thus driving the product demand.
  • Anionic surfactants are also used in removing dirt and sebum, as they are characterized by a negatively charged hydrophilic polar group and enhances frizz and friction. This negative charge helps the surfactant molecules to interact with both the soil particles and carbon fiber, which, in turn, lifts and suspends the soil in bubble-like arrangements known as micelles.
  • In terms of volume, the three most-used anionic surfactants are alpha-olefin sulfonates, linear alkylbenzene sulfonates, and alcohol ether sulfates.
  • High price and supply fluctuations of petrochemical products and reducing dependence on crude oil are likely to drive the demand for anionic surfactants.
  • Increasing demand for anionic surfactants in cosmetic products, such as skin care and hair care products in personal care application, owing to its superior characteristics, such as foaming, cleansing, thickening, solubilizing, emulsifying, antimicrobial effects, penetration enhancement, and other special effects, is expected to boost the market demand.
  • The current market demand for environment-friendly alternatives has led to a boost in demand for bio-based anionic surfactants.
surfactants industry trends

Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market

  • In Asia-Pacific, China was the largest consumer of surfactants, and the country is likely to continue its dominance during the forecast period.
  • The market for soap, washing powder, and synthetic detergent in China has grown at an average annual rate of 13.2% in the past five years due to increasing awareness about hygiene and development in liquid soap.
  • In October 2019, BASF SE positioned to increase the annual production capacity of alkyl polyglucosides (APG), a non-ionic surfactant, from 20 kiloton to 30 kiloton at its Jinshan site in China to fulfill the strong demand in the surfactant-based home and personal care market, which, in turn, stimulates the market growth.
  • China is becoming the largest market in terms of cosmetics and skincare products globally. The beauty sector in the country witnessed a growth of around 5% in the past ten years.
  • Moreover, India is one of the largest producers of soaps in the world. The per capita consumption of toilet/bathing soap in the country is around 800 grams. Around 65% of the Indian population resides in rural areas, and the increasing disposable incomes and growth in rural markets are making the consumers shift to premium products. This shift is expected to drive the market for surfactants in the country.
  • Due to all such factors, the market for surfactants in the region is expected to have a steady growth during the forecast period.
surfactants market growth

Competitive Landscape

The surfactants market is highly fragmented, with the top five companies accounting for almost 15% of the market. Some of the major players in the market include Nouryon, Evonik Industries AG, Kao Corporation, BASF SE, and Stepan Company, among others.

Recent Developments

  • In October 2019, BASF SE decided to double the capacity of alkyl polyglucoside (APG), a surfactant used in the personal care segment, at Jinshan, China.
  • In August 2019, Nouryon decided to double the capacity at its surfactants plant-based in Stenungsund, Sweden to help the growth of several existing products and new sustainable technologies for markets, including oil and gas, lubricants and fuels, and asphalt.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Drivers

      1. 4.1.1 Growing Personal Care Industry in Asia-Pacific

      2. 4.1.2 Growth of the Oleo Chemicals Market Driving the Demand for Bio-based Surfactants

    2. 4.2 Restraints

      1. 4.2.1 Increasing Focus on Environmental Regulations

      2. 4.2.2 Unfavorable Conditions Arising Due to the Impact of COVID-19

      3. 4.2.3 Other Restraints

    3. 4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Degree of Competition

    5. 4.5 Price Analysis

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size by Volume and Value)

    1. 5.1 Type

      1. 5.1.1 Anionic Surfactants

        1. Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfolane (LAS or LABS)

        2. Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfates (AES)

        3. Alpha Olefin Sulfonates (AOS)

        4. Secondary Alkane Sulfonate (SAS)

        5. Methyl Ester Sulfonates (MES)

        6. Sulfosuccinates

        7. Other Anionic Surfactants

      2. 5.1.2 Cationic Surfactants

        1. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

        2. Other Cationic Surfactants

      3. 5.1.3 Non-ionic Surfactants

        1. Alcohol Ethoxylates

        2. Ethoxylated Alkyl-phenols

        3. Fatty Acid Esters

        4. Other Non-ionic Surfactants

      4. 5.1.4 Amphoteric Surfactants

      5. 5.1.5 Silicone Surfactants

      6. 5.1.6 Other Types

    2. 5.2 Origin

      1. 5.2.1 Synthetic Surfactants

      2. 5.2.2 Bio-based Surfactants

        1. Chemically Synthesized Bio-based Surfactants

        2. Bio Surfactant

    3. 5.3 Application

      1. 5.3.1 Household Soap and Detergent

      2. 5.3.2 Personal Care

      3. 5.3.3 Lubricants and Fuel Additives

      4. 5.3.4 Industry and Institutional Cleaning

      5. 5.3.5 Food Processing

      6. 5.3.6 Oilfield Chemicals

      7. 5.3.7 Agricultural Chemicals

      8. 5.3.8 Textile Processing

      9. 5.3.9 Emulsion Polymerization

      10. 5.3.10 Other Applications

    4. 5.4 Geography

      1. 5.4.1 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. India

        3. Japan

        4. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      2. 5.4.2 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

        3. Mexico

      3. 5.4.3 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. United Kingdom

        3. Italy

        4. France

        5. Rest of Europe

      4. 5.4.4 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Argentina

        3. Rest of South America

      5. 5.4.5 Middle-East and Africa

        1. Saudi Arabia

        2. South Africa

        3. Rest of Middle-East and Africa


    1. 6.1 Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements

    2. 6.2 Market Share Analysis

    3. 6.3 Strategies Adopted by Leading Players

    4. 6.4 Company Profiles

      1. 6.4.1 3M

      2. 6.4.2 Arkema

      3. 6.4.3 Ashland

      4. 6.4.4 BASF SE

      5. 6.4.5 Bayer AG

      6. 6.4.6 Clariant

      7. 6.4.7 Croda International PLC

      8. 6.4.8 Deten Quimica SA

      9. 6.4.9 Dow

      10. 6.4.10 Emery Oleochemicals

      11. 6.4.11 Evonik Industries AG

      12. 6.4.12 Galaxy

      13. 6.4.13 Geo Specialty Chemicals

      14. 6.4.14 Godrej Industries Limited

      15. 6.4.15 Huntsman International LLC

      16. 6.4.16 Innospec

      17. 6.4.17 Kao Corporation

      18. 6.4.18 Kemipex

      19. 6.4.19 KLK Oleo

      20. 6.4.20 Lankem

      21. 6.4.21 Lonza

      22. 6.4.22 Nouryon

      23. 6.4.23 Oxiteno

      24. 6.4.24 P&G Chemicals

      25. 6.4.25 Reliance Industries Ltd

      26. 6.4.26 Sanyo Chemical Industries Ltd

      27. 6.4.27 Sasol

      28. 6.4.28 Sinarmas Cepsa Pte Ltd

      29. 6.4.29 Sinopec Jinling Petrochemical Co. Ltd

      30. 6.4.30 Solvay

      31. 6.4.31 Stepan Company

      32. 6.4.32 SulfaTrade SA

      33. 6.4.33 Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd

      34. 6.4.34 Taiwan NJC Corporation Ltd

      35. 6.4.35 TENSAC

      36. 6.4.36 YPF

    5. *List Not Exhaustive

    1. 7.1 Possible Innovations in the Applications of Specialty Surfactants

    2. 7.2 Expansion of Application Base for Bio-based Surfactants

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Surfactants Market market is studied from 2016 - 2026.

The Surfactants Market is growing at a CAGR of >4% over the next 5 years.

The Surfactants Market is valued at 36 Billion USD in 2016.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

Asia Pacific holds highest share in 2020.

Nouryon, Evonik Industries AG, Kao Corporation, BASF SE, Stepan Company are the major companies operating in Surfactants Market.

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