“Although the beauty and personal care sector was adversely affected during the recession, it has now recovered and been forecast to have an annual growth rate of 3 per cent over the next five years,” says John Madden, head of Ingredient Research at Euromonitor.
“This is good news for surfactants as they are a major ingredient in beauty and personal care formulations.”
Despite surfactant suppliers facing issues due to differing media coverage, the industry still remains strong, due to the necessity of the ingredient.
Product functionality hinges on surfactants in many ways and they are also cost effective ingredients; as they can offer a range of cleansing, conditioning, and anti-microbial properties.
Alkyl ether sulphates are the most widely used group of surfactants in Europe and their future growth is expected to continue, according to Euromonitor, as they tick the boxes mentioned above; although concerns over sulphate surfactants may impact this growth.
“This is an issue that was originally driven by the media and has now been taken up by consumer groups leading to all surfactants being tainted,” explains Madden.
“Now we’re seeing major brand holders, like L’Oréal, launching products which are labelled as sulphate-free.”
Alkyl polyglucosides have been the best performing surfactant category since 2006, driven by the growth in body wash, shower gels, and also the benefit of being natural and sustainable; a benefit to manufacturers who are trying to cut down on the use of petroleum-based surfactants.
“They are also mild, and as a result of this, they can potentially be used as replacements for sulphate-containing surfactants,” continues Euromonitor’s head researcher.
“However there may be a few issues here as they are more expensive and may not have the same performance, and it’s well known that European and North American prefer smooth skin.”
In Latin America and Asia-Pacific, consumer spending is better and they are buying more premium products, as consumption increases. In Europe it is a much different scenario.
“There is a mixed picture for beauty and personal care in Western Europe,” adds Anais Mirval, Ingredients Research analyst. “Large markets like the UK or Germany show good growth, but countries like Spain and Italy are expected to see sales fall.”
Eastern Europe is forecast for positive growth, with Russia a very important country in the region for the future as it accounted for half of all beauty and personal care sales in 2011.
However, despite the expected slowdown in Western Europe, its absolute volume increase between 2011 and 2016 is expected to be greater than in Eastern Europe due to its market size; it is three times Eastern Europe.