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Global demand for industrial and institutional disinfectants and sanitizers is projected to grow 4.6% per year to $7.9 billion in 2026, supported by:
- growth in food and beverage processing
- gains in healthcare spending, notably in:
- the Asia/Pacific region, boosted by above-average gains in per capita healthcare spending in China, India, and other smaller markets
- developed economies, where from higher levels healthcare utilization by aging populations will support moderate growth
- a rebound in the foodservice industry following the COVID-19 pandemic
However, faster growth will be limited by a high 2021 base that resulted from more frequent and stringent sanitation protocols.
Food & Beverage Manufacturing to Remain Largest Outlet for I&I Disinfectants & Sanitizers
Food and beverage processing was the largest application for I&I disinfectants and sanitizer in 2021, accounting for nearly 45% of overall demand in any given year. These levels are supported by the ubiquity of food and beverage processing worldwide. In addition, food safe formulations of disinfectants and cleaners tend to be higher value products, due to the extensive levels of testing required to achieve approval for use in food and beverage processing. Food and beverage processing is also under more stringent scrutiny and regulation by governmental bodies, resulting in more thorough cleaning and sanitation of food and beverage manufacturing facilities.
Through 2026, gains will boosted by sustained growth in food and beverage processing activity, an effect that will be even more pronounced in developing regions. Demand in these areas will also be driven by the establishment of sanitation standards – particularly in countries that are significant exporters of foods and beverages – that are similar to those in developed regions. Unlike many other markets that utilize disinfectants and sanitizers, demand in food and beverage processing was minimally impacted by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the essential nature of the industry.
The Asia/Pacific Region to See Strong Demand Growth
Through 2026, demand for I&I disinfectants and sanitizers in the Asia/Pacific region is forecast to grow at a strong rate. China is expected to see the largest absolute increases, accounting for 61% of regional gains. Despite relatively low per capita healthcare spending, the nation’s overall healthcare spending expected to grow well above the global average, thereby benefiting demand for disinfectants and sanitizers. In addition, the construction of new governmental and institutional facilities – such as municipal buildings, schools, and parks – to meet the needs of growing urban populations will boost demand for I&I disinfectants and sanitizers.
Historical Market Trends
Global demand for disinfectants and sanitizers was $6.3 billion in 2021, accounting for just over 14% of total I&I cleaning chemical demand. The use of disinfectants and sanitizers has experienced healthy gains globally in healthcare settings and public spaces, with demand driven by growing concerns over the spread of infections. Food safety concerns after well-publicized occurrences of food contamination also helped boost demand in the foodservice and food and beverage processing segments.
Globally, demand for disinfectants and sanitizers is influenced by:
- levels of healthcare spending and the floor space of healthcare facilities such as hospitals and doctor and dentist offices
- the average age of the population, as older populations utilize healthcare at a higher rate than younger populations
- growth in food and beverage processing, the largest application for disinfectants and sanitizers
- concerns surrounding the spread of healthcare-associated infections
Industrial and institutional disinfectant and sanitizer prices can vary widely by product type and application, as well as by market region. Overall, the pricing of I&I disinfectants and sanitizers is primarily a function of:
- raw materials pricing
- supply/demand balance
- other input costs – including labor, electricity, and fuel
In general, prices rose over the historical period as end users increasingly employed higher-value disinfectants. I&I disinfectants and sanitizers were mostly spared the significant price spikes that occurred in other industries in 2021, although some cost increases were prompted that year by rising raw material prices. Those largely resulted from:
- severe weather, most notably in Texas, which caused the shuttering of oil refineries and chemical manufacturing plants
- rebounding economies worldwide, which drove increases in raw material purchases to meet pent-up demand and boosted inflation rates
- uncertainty surrounding import markets, which may face enhanced scrutiny for safety and environmental impact
- supply chain bottlenecks arising from both raw materials shortages and transportation issues
The costs of raw materials effect the prices of I&I disinfectants and sanitizers. Although chlor-alkalis are the most prevalent of these in volume terms, they are inexpensive and contribute little to manufacturing expenses despite their tendency to fluctuate in price. Solvents and surfactants exert greater influences on price; the principal feedstock for these materials is petroleum, making I&I disinfectants and sanitizers subject to trickle-down price increases when the cost of oil is high.
Plant closures can also impact demand, as when 2021’s plant closings in Texas (due to freezing weather and electricity shortages) caused propylene prices to jump. Polypropylene is used to produce non-ionic surfactants, and those price increases directly impacted the costs of industrial detergents.
However, those kinds of raw material price surges do not always translate to increased costs for disinfectants and sanitizers because of the effects of intense competition within the market. Pressures are arising from:
- a reduction in the number of end users, which is attributable to continued consolidation in many markets strengthening resistance to price increases
- the emergence of warehouse clubs and mass merchandisers that compete with the sanitary supply distributors traditionally charged with providing I&I disinfectants and sanitizers, especially to single establishments and other smaller enterprises that do not have large contracts with their suppliers
In addition, price increases have been reined in by I&I disinfectants and sanitizer producers through:
- simplification of formulas to streamline raw material requirements and minimize supply chain costs
- focusing on non-chemical products and services that are intended to increase the efficiency of cleaning operations and reduce long-term costs for consumers