The anionic surfactant market for home care and personal care products, in South Africa, is restrained by fluctuating exchange rates, environmental and health concerns, and oligopolistic supply.
While little can be done about the exchange rates, FMCG manufacturers need to educate final consumers on the safety of chemical ingredients found in their products.
The Kenyan market, on the other hand, is restrained by its reliance on imports, a depreciating currency and price-sensitivity. This situation could be partially remedied by the introduction of manufacturers who produce good quality, cosmetic-grade anionic surfactants. It is also crucial that FMCG manufacturers have a good understanding of the needs of their final consumers.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), Analysis of the Anionic Surfactant Market for Home and Personal Care Products and its Importance to FMCG Manufacturers, finds that the market generated revenues of $137.5 million and $31.2 million in 2010, for South Africa and Kenya respectively, and estimates this to reach $193.3 million and $45.7 million for the respective countries in 2015.
“The functionality of anionic surfactants is the overarching driver in the South African market,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research’s Chemicals, Materials and Food Research Analyst Carolyn Krynauw.
“While functionality is still important in the Kenyan market, the emergence of consumer trends is set to be the greater driver there. Other important trends that should be noted in Kenya include the move towards greater contract manufacturing, the development of niche markets, and the increased focus on the environment.”
As the South African anionic surfactant industry is in the maturity phase and almost entirely self-sufficient, emphasis is placed on the functionality, or performance of these surfactants, and growth is stable. Kenya shows higher growth rates as consumers pay more attention to personal grooming and are changing from laundry bars to toilet soaps and laundry detergents.
However, media concerns regarding certain anionic surfactants can be detrimental to FMCG manufacturers in South Africa. Other restraints include the importation of raw materials for local anionic surfactant production amidst fluctuating exchange rates, and lack of competition as two major local suppliers dominate the anionic surfactant market.
“Chemical ingredients used in personal care products must be listed on the packaging,” indicates Krynauw. “This can become detrimental to manufacturers, should consumers remain uneducated about the chemicals and different grades used. Although South Africa has yet to ban certain ingredients, FMCG manufacturers who maintain a reactive approach to potential legislative changes may well find themselves in troubled times in future.”
Kenya faces its own set of constraints. The country is plagued by a depreciating currency that hurts local manufacturers and a high dependency on imports, both for anionic surfactants and final products. This trend stems not only from the lack of local supply, but also from the perception by FMCG manufacturers that the quality of the local cosmetic-grade anionic surfactants is inferior. In addition, the market is restrained by the limited purchasing power of its citizens.
“In both South Africa and Kenya, it is important that local FMCG manufacturers take the initiative and refrain from using substances banned on the international market,” concludes Krynauw. “Moreover, in Kenya, there remains an opportunity for a local manufacturer to produce good quality, cosmetic-grade anionic surfactants to drive local supply.”