Surfactants, also known as surface-active agents, are organic chemicals with a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic end that when added to a liquid, change its properties at the surface or interface. They can be classified either based on the nature of their charge on individual polar functional groups or based on their molecular weights.
By type, the global surfactants market is classified into cationic surfactant, anionic surfactant, nonionic surfactant, amphoteric surfactant and others. Anionic surfactants are majorly derived from carboxylation, sulfation, and condensation of fatty acids and phosphoric acid derivatives. Cationic surfactants are obtained by the reaction of tertiary amines with classical alkylating agents, whereas alkylation processes of betaines and true amphoteric surfactants produce amphoteric surfactants. In 2017, anionic surfactant and nonionic surfactant segments occupied up to two-thirds share of the surfactants market, in terms of volume.
By application, the surfactants market is segmented into household detergent, personal care, industrial & institutional cleaner, food processing, oilfield chemicals, agricultural chemical, textile, plastic, paint & coating, adhesive, and others. The household detergent and personal care segments, together held more than two-thirds share in the surfactants market in 2017.
North America and Europe collectively accounted for half of the market, in 2017, however, Asia-Pacific alone captured more than one-third share of the surfactants market. Asia-Pacific is expected to remain dominant from 2018 to 2025 in terms of revenue, followed by North America.