Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS) Market, by Application, and by Region

Linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) is an anionic surfactant that is biodegradable and cost-effective. It offers high solubility, emulsifying, moistening, foaming, and dispersing properties when compounded with other additives. It is thus, used in powder detergents, paste detergents, solid detergents, cleaners, concentration washing powder, and other civil detergents. It is also used in the rubber industry as an emulsifying agent, in the textile industry as a refining agent and as a coupling agent and emulsifier in the agricultural herbicides industry. LAS is used in emulsion polymerization and as an industrial wetting agent.

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Increasing application of LAS as a surfactant due to its effectiveness coupled with growing demand for cleaning and sanitization products such as liquid dishwashing soaps and detergents are driving growth of the linear alkylbenzene sulfonate market. Furthermore, rising demand for cleaning and janitorial services such as window cleaning and vacuuming in residential and commercial sectors is fuelling growth of the LAS market. For instance, according to the International Association for Soaps, Detergents, and Maintenance Products, the expenditure on professional cleaning, hygiene products, and services accounted for US$ 8.18 billion in 2015, which increased to US$ 8.41 billion in 2016, in Europe. However, availability of substitutes such as alcohol ether sulfates is one of the challenge faced by the LAS market.

Household detergents and cleaners are the largest application in the global LAS market.  Demand for LAS surfactants is significantly increasing due to its growing application in laundry care, surface care, and other household detergents and cleaners, owing to its biodegradable and cost-effective nature. According to the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products, laundry care products in Europe was valued at US$ 16 billion in 2016, which increased by 0.8% from 2015 in the household care sector. Also, surface care products increased by 0.6% from 2015 to US$ 7.11 billion in 2016, in Europe. The rising demand for laundry care and surface care products in the household care sector is in turn, propelling growth of the LAS market.

Asia Pacific holds the dominant position in the LAS market, owing to increasing demand for household cleaning and sanitization products in the region. Growing demand for industrial detergents and cleaning products in various industries such as food and dairy processing has further augmented growth of the LAS market in the region. For instance, according to India Brand Equity Foundation, the food processing market in India is estimated to reach US$ 482 billion by 2020. Also, Union Budget of 2017-2018 has set up a fund of US$ 1.2 billion for dairy processing in India.

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North America experiences significant demand for LAS. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 21CFR173.315, LAS can be used to wash or assist lye peeling of vegetables and fruits. Europe is a lucrative market for LAS due to increasing demand for its application in detergents and cleaning products in the household care, professional cleaning, and hygiene sector. For instance, according to the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products, household care, professional cleaning, and hygiene sector was valued at US$ 41.72 billion in Europe, in 2015, which increased to US$ 42.19 billion in 2016.

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