Globally, the sales of alcohol ether sulfates declined in 2020 due to Covid-19 crisis creating losses for the manufacturers. As in 2021, restrictions have been lifted up by the government, leading players are focusing on recovery, with the hope that demand will pick up steadily. Rising focus on personal care and domestic cleaning is likely to increase sales of personal care products in 2021. Personal care and home care are currently among the sectors highly demanding alcohol ether sulfates.
As surfactant-based products are used in agriculture for cleaning and washing purposes, demand is likely to witness an increase during the forecast period 2021-2031.
Leading manufacturers including Clariant AG, Croda International, Huntsman Corporation and Evonik Industries are constantly adopting new strategies to recover from the slump of 2020.
Kao Corporation, Sasol and Stepan Company are among the companies investing in research activities, technological advancements and new plant establishments for expanding alcohol ether sulfate business.
For instance, Kao Corporation on 13th May, 2020 entered into a joint venture with Apical Group Limited to establish a new chemical factory called ‘ PT Apical Kao Chemical’ for increasing its production capacity. The initial investment was about 80 million US dollars. With the completion of their new factory, the companies will increase their production capacities of oleochemicals, fatty acids and promote their stable supply in order to expand their chemical business. The integration of Kao and Apical Group’s knowledge and technology as a venture business is expected to strengthen the supply chain and provide sustainable, high quality derivatives to a wide range of customers.
In addition to Kao Corporation, Sasol Corporation, world’s leading energy and chemicals manufacturing company established a new chemical plant in Nanjing, China on July 2019 with an investment of 100 million U.S. dollars. The plant covers 142,000 square meters in the city’s Jianbei new material technology park to produce detergent, lubricants and other products. This new facility is more than double its alkoxylation production capacity supported by growing research and development and technical customer support capabilities. The plant can operate using either branched or linear alcohols to meet the differentiated customer requirements in various applications including textile and leather, personal care, paints and coatings. Such investments are improving the presence of Sasol throughout the world.
Asia Pacific is anticipated to hold the leading position in the forthcoming years owing to significant developments in personal care, industrial, domestic, textile and pharmaceutical sectors.
What are Alcohol Ether Sulfates?
Alcohol ether sulfates market comprises of a vast range of alcohol ether sulfates that differ in their molecular weights and that are mostly ethylene based. Alcohol ether sulfates form one of the three largest categories of anionic surfactants besides linear alkyl benzene sulfonates and alpha olefin sulfonates. Furthermore, alcohol ether sulfates exhibit many advantageous properties such as emulsification, decontamination, and hard water resistance. These properties including foam production offered by alcohol ether sulfates makes them highly applicable in the production of consumer products such as shampoos, soaps, liquid soaps, and detergents among others. Besides being used as foaming agents in personal care and cosmetics and detergent industries, alcohol ether sulfates are also used as wetting agents in the textile industries.
What’s Driving Demand for Alcohol Ether Sulfates?
Alcohol ether sulfates are mostly produced from coconut oils or palm oils. This gives them an advantage over other petroleum based surfactants for being bio-based and biodegradable. This factor is one of the key factor driving their demand. Consumers are becoming more aware towards the contents and ingredients of the products they use and hence are more inclined towards natural and bio-based ingredients with least or no side effects. As a consequence of this shift in trend, manufacturers of personal care and cosmetics consumer products are demanding bio-based products more compared to other conventional ingredients as it will help them cater customer demands.
Moreover, the global personal care industry has witnessed a significant growth over the past years. As a result of developing economies, increasing manufacturing, and rising per-capita income coupled with increasing disposable income, the sales of personal care and cosmetics has grown significantly. Consequently, the production capacity of personal care and cosmetics has increased and this is expected to create a significant demand for alcohol ether sulfates as a personal care ingredient.
What Challenges do Alcohol Ether Sulfate Manufacturers Face?
Many other products with similar benefits and features compared to alcohol ether sulfates such as alpha olefin sulfonates (AOS) and linear alkyl benzene sulfonates (LAS) are available. These products are also preferred by end-users significantly and hence they offer a potential competition to alcohol ether sulfates. Therefore, the availability of other alternatives to alcohol ether sulfates is one of the key restraining factor for growth.
On the basis of applications, key segments include,
- Foaming Agent
- Wetting Agent
- Emulsifying Agent
On the basis of end-use industries, key segments are,
- Personal Care and Cosmetics
Some of the market participants identified across the value chain of global alcohol ether sulfates market that include manufacturers, suppliers and distributors are:
- Clariant AG
- Stepan Company
- KLK OLEO
- Croda International
- Solvay SA
- BASF SE
- Colonial Chemical, Inc.
- Hengshui Maosen Chemical Co.,Ltd
- Henan Surface Chemical Industry Co Ltd
- Sinopec Jinling Petrochemical Co., Ltd (China Petrochemical Group)
- Jiangsu HSINTAI Chemical S&T CO.,Ltd
- Dongming Jujin Chemical Co., Ltd
The market is dominated by East Asia region in terms of production. This has resulted from high production of chemicals in China as a consequence of economical labor and easy manufacturing resources. In terms of consumption, regions like North America and Europe hold significant shares for personal care and cosmetic production. For detergent end-uses, Asia will continue to be a lucrative market.
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