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Asia Drives Surfactant Sales

Sales to reach $44.6 billion by 2020, according to Allied Market Research.

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By: Tom Branna

Asia Drives Surfactant Sales

Driven by demand in Asia, worldwide surfactant sales are expected to reach $44.6 billion by 2020, according to a new report by Allied Market Research, titled, “World Surfactants Market – Opportunity and Forecast, 2014-2020.” About 75% of sales are expected to come from anionic and nonionic surfactants. In 2014, North America and Europe collectively accounted for half of the market. According to researchers, the key drivers responsible for growth of the surfactants market include growing end user industries and improving lifestyles in developing economies. Easy availability, low price, and broadened application areas are other factors fuelling the demand for surfactants worldwide, according to Allied Market Research.


Based on application, the household detergents segment captured more than half of the total market and is expected to hold its lead through 2020. Based on type, the nonionic surfactants segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR of 4.7% from 2015 to 2020. The report also notes that among anionic surfactants, linear alkyl benzene (LAB) captured two third of the market in 2014.
Among nonionic surfactants, fatty alcohol ethoxylates are expected to be the fastest growing segment through 2020.


Household detergents and personal care applications are the major market segments in terms of application. Food processing is the fastest growing application segment due to growing use of surfactants as biocides to inhibit bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses which can interfere with fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and poultry. The study notes that surfactants have also gained popularity and technological advancements across different unconventional applications such as cleaning storage tanks, crude oil transportation and enhanced oil recovery in the oil and gas industry, as biocides in agricultural industry, as gene delivery, and immunological adjuvant in healthcare industry.

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