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  • Published In : Dec 2023
  • Code : CMI6263
  • Pages :140
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Consumer Goods

The alkali soap market size is expected to reach US$ 30.47 Billion by 2030, from US$ 19.22 Billion in 2023, at a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period. Alkali soaps, also known as bar soaps, are cleaning agents made from the salts of vegetable or animal fats and alkali substances such as lye. They are an essential product used for washing and cleaning purposes across residential and commercial spaces. The growth in the market can be attributed to rising awareness regarding hygiene and cleanliness, increasing disposable incomes, and new product launches.

The alkali soap market is segmented by product type, distribution channel, application, end user, price range, and region. By product type, the market is categorized into bar soap, liquid soap, paper soap, medicated soap, laundry soap, and others ( Dishwash soap, Handwash soap etc) . Bar soap is the largest segment, accounting for over 40% of the global market share in 2022. The popularity of bar soaps can be attributed to their affordability, easy availability, and longevity over liquid hand wash products.

Alkali Soap Market Regional Insights

  • North America is expected to be the second largest market for alkali soap during the forecast period, accounting for over 25.2% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to high disposable incomes and greater consciousness regarding health, hygiene, and wellness.
  • The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the largest market for alkali soap, accounting for over 38.5% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market is attributed to growing populations, rapid urbanization and increasing awareness about personal hygiene.
  • The Middle East & Africa market is expected to be the fastest-growing for alkali soap market, with a CAGR of over 7.1% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Middle East & Africa is attributed to improving economic conditions and rising demand from the commercial sector.

Figure 1. Global Alkali Soap Market Share (%), by Region, 2023


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Alkali Soap Market Drivers

  • Increasing Awareness about Health, Hygiene, and Sanitization: The growing awareness regarding health, hygiene, and sanitization among consumers is a key factor driving the growth of the alkali soap market. The COVID-19 pandemic has made personal hygiene and home sanitization top priorities for consumers globally. Hand washing with soap is being highly encouraged by health organizations to prevent spread of infections. This has led to a surge in demand for alkali soap bars and liquid hand washes. Brands are also innovating with new product formulations like anti-bacterial soaps and germ protection hand washes. Government initiatives promoting hand hygiene and cleanliness are also contributing to market growth. For instance, according to United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Government of India distributed over 1.8 million soaps to households under the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2021 to promote hand washing practices.
  • Product Innovation and Premiumization: Manufacturers are continuously investing in Research and Development.(R&D) and innovation to develop novel soap products catering to changing consumer preferences. Premiumization is an emerging trend, with brands launching expensive, natural, and organic soap variants. Consumers are willing to pay more for soaps with natural fragrances, gentle cleansing formulas, and skin-nourishing properties. Luxury soap brands use ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, sea salts, and essential oils. Innovation in form factors such as soap bars with decorations, embeds, and customized shapes also provides growth opportunities.  For instance, translucent soaps, colored soaps, and glycerin soap bars with intricate designs have captured consumer imagination. Functionalities are also being enhanced, as evidenced by the emergence of antibacterial, antiseptic, and moisturizing variants. Companies are further customizing soaps based on regional consumer preferences. For example, Ayurvedic herb-based alkali soaps have witnessed higher popularity in the Indian subcontinent. Innovation and expanded product portfolios allow companies to tap into new customer segments.
  • Increasing Disposable Incomes and Improved Living Standards: Rising disposable incomes, expanding the middle class, and improving living standards in developing regions are fueling the adoption of premium and specialized bath and shower products including alkali soaps. Consumers are shifting towards higher value products, owing to increased affordability. Emerging economies offer significant growth potential due to their large populations and untapped opportunities. Market penetration in rural areas is also increasing due to improved infrastructure and distribution networks.
  • Growth of Modern Retail Formats: The growing penetration of modern retail formats such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacy outlets has led to easy product availability and visibility. It has also enabled manufacturers to effectively market their products. E-commerce is emerging as a popular distribution channel, especially in urban areas, driven by deep discounts and shopping convenience. The expansion of organized retail and online distribution will continue to positively impact the alkali soap market in the coming years.

Alkali Soap Market Opportunities

  • Rising Demand from the Commercial Sector: There is significant potential for growth of alkali soaps in the commercial sector, comprising hotels, restaurants, workplaces, schools, and other institutions. The need to maintain hygiene and cleanliness at mass scales is driving adoption of soaps and hand washes. Antibacterial and anti-viral soap variants are particularly in high demand from hospitals and clinics. Market players can focus on institutional buyers and commercial customers to drive revenues. Bulk purchasing and customization opportunities also exist in this space. For instance, data from the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals progress report published in 2021 showed that globally, approximately 55% of surveyed accommodation and food service companies had adopted more environmentally-friendly cleaning and disinfection products and protocols in the previous year.
  • Growing Skincare Awareness among Consumers: Today's consumers are highly aware of skincare and demand soap products that provide skin health benefits beyond just cleansing. This presents an opportunity for brands to develop innovative formulations with skin-nourishing properties. Soaps infused with moisturizing ingredients, vitamins, herbal extracts, and oils will gain popularity. Consumers are also looking for gentler and hypoallergenic cleansers suitable for sensitive skin. Catering to specific skincare needs will be critical for future growth. For instance, according to the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research for Greece, over 50% of Greek consumers in 2021 said they pay more attention to the ingredients of beauty products than before the pandemic.
  • Adoption of Natural and Organic Ingredients: The rising consumer preference for natural and organic personal care products provides huge scope for innovation in the alkali soap market. Plant-based soaps free from harsh chemicals, parabens, and synthetic fragrances are gaining traction. Consumers are even willing to pay a premium for natural bathing bars with ingredients like neem, tea tree, oats, and essential oils. A steady supply of bio-based raw materials can be secured through partnerships with ingredient providers and contract manufacturers. For instance, according to data from the Soil Association, sales of organic personal care products grew by 12.9% in Europe in 2020 alone. This growth was driven by Millennials and Gen Z consumers, who are especially conscious of the ingredients in the products they use.
  • Geographical Expansion into Emerging Markets: Emerging economies in Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa offer lucrative expansion opportunities for alkali soap brands. These markets are witnessing growing consumerism and rising incomes. However, penetration of bath and shower products is still low in rural areas. Investing in distribution infrastructure and localized production can help brands tap into this high-potential consumer base. Promotional initiatives raising awareness about hygiene will further drive adoption.

Alkali Soap Market Trends

  • Increasing Popularity of Liquid Hand Washes: Liquid hand washes and hand sanitizers are gaining popularity over traditional soap bars due to greater convenience and perceived hygiene. Newer formats, like automatic dispensers and touch-free models, are becoming popular in public spaces. Market leaders are expanding their portfolio with innovative hand wash variants. Antibacterial and antimicrobial ingredients, soothing formulas, and natural fragrances are some key focus areas. The rising on-the-go lifestyles are expected to further fuel the demand for liquid hand washes. For instance, countries like the USA, U.K., and Japan have seen alkali soap sales decline by up to 15-20% between 2020 and 2022 as per industry association reports on 10/9/2020 from the American Cleaning Institute, the U.K. Cleaning Products Industry Association, and Japan Soap and Detergent Association, respectively.
  • Growing Demand for Multipurpose and Functionality: Consumers are increasingly looking for multipurpose products that offer greater value for money. This presents an opportunity for soap brands to develop innovative products that can address multiple needs. For instance, shampoo and conditioner 2-in-1 soaps, face and body wash combo bars, and laundry detergent soaps. Antibacterial and antifungal variants also provide added functional benefits. Such value-added formulations that provide greater convenience and flexibility will gain wider acceptance among busy, urban consumers. For instance, a 2021 survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding handwashing habits during the COVID-19 pandemic noted that over 70% of American households chose multipurpose antibacterial bar soaps and liquids rather than plain soap and sanitizers.
  • Product Personalization and Customization: Seeking personalized solutions aligned to individual preferences is emerging as a key consumer trend. It is driving brands to offer customization options with alkali soap products as well. Custom fragrances, ingredient preferences, shape, size, exfoliants, and embed personalization are some areas being explored. D2C brands allow consumers to design their own soap bars. Such personalization enhances emotional connection and provides a unique user experience.
  • Increasing Focus on Sustainability: Sustainability is a megatrend impacting innovation and manufacturing across industries. Consumers prefer ethically produced, eco-friendly personal care products with natural ingredients and minimalist packaging. Brands are addressing this demand through strategies like biodegradable soap formulations, plastic-free packaging, upcycled ingredients, and transparency across the value chain. Many players are investing in improving their sustainability credentials to attract and retain environmentally conscious shoppers.

Alkali Soap Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 19.22 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 6.8% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 30.47 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, Israel, South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Product Type: Bar Soap, Liquid Soap, Paper Soap, Medicated Soap, Laundry Soap, Others( Dish wash soap,  Hand wash soap etc )
  • By Distribution Channel: Supermarkets & Hypermarkets, Convenience Stores, Online, Drugstores, Others(Departmental stores, local shops etc )  
  • By Application: Household, Commercial, Industrial, Others  (Institutional etc)
  • By End User: Men, Women, Children, Others (Unisex) 
  • By Price Range: Premium, Mid-range, Low range, Others (Ultra-premium, economy)
Companies covered:

Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Church & Dwight Co. Inc., Wipro Enterprises Limited, Colgate-Palmolive Company, C.Johnson & Son Inc., Godrej Consumer Products, Kao Corporation, L'Oreal S.A., The Clorox Company, Seventh Generation, Inc., Natura &Co, Weleda Group, Patanjali Ayurved Limited, Hain Celestial, EO Products, Indus Valley, Prairie Rose

Growth Drivers:
  • Increasing awareness about hygiene  
  • New product development and innovation
  • Improving living standards and disposable incomes
  • Expansion of modern retail formats
Restraints & Challenges:
  • Presence of substitute products
  • Premium pricing of natural and organic variants
  • Counterfeiting of products
  • Competition from established brands

Alkali Soap Market Restraints

  • Availability of Substitute Products: The availability of substitute products such as body washes, shower gels, liquid hand washes, shampoos, and chemical-based cleaners is a major restraint facing the traditional alkali soap market. Advanced product formats, a wider variety, and the perceived advantages of substitute products have impacted soap bar sales globally. This trend is likely to continue with product innovation and increasing consumer awareness about alternate options. For instance, As per the data by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the global sales of synthetic detergents increased by over 15% between 2020 and 2022, indicating their rising preference among consumers.
  • Premium Pricing of Natural and Organic Variants: While the popularity of natural ingredient-based alkali soaps is increasing, the premium pricing of such products is a barrier, especially in developing markets. The higher costs stem from the sourcing of rare, exotic organic ingredients and small-batch artisanal manufacturing. Customers in the mass market and economy segment are drawn to less expensive goods. Scaling up production and securing steady supplies from vendors can help bring down costs in the long run. For instance, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 2021 annual report, production costs of natural soaps in the USA are estimated to be 20-30% higher compared to traditional soaps due to additional expenses in ingredients and processing. These increased costs are entirely passed on to consumers.

Counterbalance - Revisit pricing strategies to ensure products are competitively priced and offer good value for money. Offer discounts or bulk purchasing options to appeal to budget-conscious consumers.

  • Presence of Counterfeit Products: The alkali soap market, particularly in emerging economies, faces the issue of counterfeit products with fake labeling and formulations. It not only results in a loss of revenues for genuine brands but also affects consumer trust in a product category. Stringent monitoring, legal action, supply chain tracking, and technology integration can help curb this issue. Brand protection through registered trademarks and quality awareness initiatives will also be critical.

Analyst View

The alkali soap market is expected to experience moderate growth in the coming years. Due to rising awareness about health and hygiene, demand for soaps made from natural ingredients is increasing. This trend will drive the growth of the hand-made and herb-infused soap segments. At the same time, low-cost alternatives available in the market may restrain the premium segment's revenue potential to some extent. Rising incomes in developing regions of Asia and Africa are allowing consumers to opt for better quality soaps. This vast, untapped consumer base presents a major opportunity for market players. North America currently holds the largest share. However, Asia Pacific is projected to become the fastest-growing market, led by countries like India, Indonesia, and China. Local manufacturers have an advantage in Asia due to their understanding of cultural nuances and tastes. Multinational brands will need to customize their products to regional sensibilities. E-commerce is opening new sales channels and making premium soaps more accessible to consumers beyond metros. However, unreliable infrastructure may pose challenges in effective inventory management. Changing lifestyles are driving novel product development. Functional varieties containing natural extracts for skin and hair care have high growth potential. These evolving consumer demands and regional shifts in demand patterns will impact the competitive dynamics in the coming years.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In January 2022, Dove launched its new Dove Hydrating Body Wash product range made with oat milk and rice milk. The launch marks Dove's expansion into the body wash segment. Dove is a personal care brand owned by the London-Rotterdam consumer goods company Unilever. The products are sold in more than 150 countries and are offered for both women, men, babies, and kids.
  • In June 2021, The Body Shop announced the launch of a new vitamin C glow-revealing liquid peel made with camu camu from the Amazon rainforest. It is the company's first liquid exfoliator product. The Body Shop is a British cosmetics, skincare, and perfume company founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton, England.The company is known for its commitment to sustainable and ethnic business practices, campaigning for social and environmental causes, and promoting the empowerment of women and girls.
  • In March 2020, Johnson & Johnson relaunched its entire line of baby products, including the iconic Johnson Baby Bar soap. The new bar soaps are formulated with no parabens, phthalates, sulfates or dyes. Johnson & Johnson is an American multinational corporation that operates in the healthcare industry. The company was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In September 2022, Unilever acquired Tatcha LLC, a leading skincare brand based on traditional Japanese rituals. This acquisition expanded Unilever's presence in the premium skincare segment. Unilever PLC is a British multinational fast-moving consumer goods company founded on 2 September 1929 following the merger of British soap maker Lever Brothers and Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie. It is headquartered in London.
  • In January 2021, Procter & Gamble acquired Billie Inc., a direct-to-consumer shaving and body brand targeting women. This supported P&G's move into the D2C space. The Procter & Gamble Company is an American multinational consumer goods corporation headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble.
  • In December 2020, Colgate-Palmolive acquired Hello Products LLC, an oral care company that makes eco-friendly toothpaste, mouthwash, and toothbrushes. The move helped expand Colgate's naturals portfolio. Colgate-Palmolive Company is an American multinational consumer products company headquartered on Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The company specializes in the production, distribution, and provision of household, health care, personal care, and veterinary products. 

Figure 2. Global Alkali Soap Market Share (%), by Application, 2023


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Top companies in Alkali Soap Market

  • Unilever
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
  • Church & Dwight Co. Inc.
  • Wipro Enterprises Limited
  • Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Johnson & Son Inc.
  • Godrej Consumer Products
  • Kao Corporation
  • L'Oreal S.A.
  • The Clorox Company
  • Seventh Generation, Inc.
  • Natura &Co
  • Weleda Group
  • Patanjali Ayurved Limited
  • Hain Celestial
  • EO Products
  • Indus Valley
  • Prairie Rose

Definition: The alkali soap market refers to the market for soap products made from alkali salts of vegetable oils or animal fats. It includes bar soaps, liquid hand washes, laundry detergents, dish wash soaps, and other cleaning agents used for personal hygiene and household cleaning applications. Alkali soaps are an essential product category used by consumers across residences, institutions, hotels, restaurants, and other commercial establishments for washing hands, bathing, cleaning utensils, clothes, and household items. Key alkali soap products include bar soaps, liquid hand wash, laundry detergents, dish wash soaps, floor cleaners, surface cleaners, and other housekeeping products.

Frequently Asked Questions

High competition, the presence of substitutes, increasing raw material costs, rising awareness about chemical ingredients, and growing demand for natural and organic personal care products are some key factors hampering the growth of the alkali soap market.

Increasing disposable incomes, growing awareness about health and hygiene, urbanization, improving living standards, demand from emerging economies, rising e-commerce penetration, and product innovation are the major factors driving the growth of the market.

Bar soap is the leading product segment in the market with over 40% market share. Bar soaps are preferred for their easy availability, affordability and longevity.

Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Church & Dwight Co. Inc., Wipro Enterprises Limited, Colgate-Palmolive Company, C.Johnson & Son Inc., Godrej Consumer Products, Kao Corporation, L'Oreal S.A., The Clorox Company, Seventh Generation, Inc., Natura &Co, Weleda Group, Patanjali Ayurved Limited, Hain Celestial, EO Products, Indus Valley, and Prairie Rose are the major players operating in the market.

Asia Pacific is expected to lead the market.

The CAGR of the market is forecast to be 6.8% from 2023-2030.

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