The application of benzalkonium chloride (BZK) as a preservative that acts as a detergent killing microorganisms, in the preparation of ophthalmic products (eye care or disease) has been ubiquitous. However, during the yesteryears, its usage has been challenged over speculation of ocular toxicity and irritant properties. However, in 2019, the global benzalkonium chloride market witnessed an upsurge as its application in ophthalmic gel, drops, and solutions were approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As nearly 70% of eye drops contain BAK and eye drop market is a lucrative arena, this approval is a disruptive force in the market. Similarly, BAK is also known as quaternary ammonium compound that is a mixture of alkyl-benzyl dimethylammonium chlorides also finds application in hand sanitizers owing to its traits as a germicide and surfactant. Alike the eye care products, its application in hand sanitizers was under speculation owing to safety concern particularly to children and pregnant women. These speculations were ruled out in 2019 when the FDA approved the application of BAK in hand sanitizers whereas 28 ingredients were banned. Considering the enormous hand sanitizer market size expanding rapidly in developed as well as developing economy owing to the increasing concern of hand hygiene, this approval is a major Benzalkonium Chloride Market growth driver. During the tenure of 2014-2019, a total of 605 patents were filed globally in the spectrum of benzalkonium chloride. This very clearly depicts the investment by market associates towards research and development for refinement of the commodity, so that it finds a broad array of end-users without any speculations. For example in 2019, Suprapharm, a pharmaceutical company located in France published a patent for the application of benzalkonium chloride as an antimicrobial preservative in preparation for nasal-nasopharyngeal treatment for a patient suffering from nasopharyngeal congestion, hypersensitivity, inflammation, and irritation associated upper respiratory infections.

Moreover, BAK owing to its additional peculiarities as an emulsifying agent, phase transfer agent, and cationic surfactant has found tremendous scope of application in various industries including chemical, cosmetics & personal care, leather, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, food & beverages, polymer & coatings, pulp & paper, textile, and wood industry. Also, in terms of application, the market is flooded with opportunities, including water treatment, timber protection, preservation, pest control, and detergent-sanitization. As a consequence, the global benzalkonium chloride market size was evaluated to be $802 million in 2018. So with approval for application by elite organizations such as FDA, opportunities in the market is estimated to be progressing with a global CAGR of 11% during the forecast period of 2019-2025.

An analysis of development in industries adjacent to APAC’s benzalkonium chloride market:

Over the years, due to rapid industrialization, several countries in APAC, particularly India and China, have witnessed exuberant growth in its economy. The industrialization has augmented the scale of manufacturing output, hence increasing the productivity of industries and the demand for different raw materials and ingredients to be applied in the process. According to the industrial development report, 2018 by United Nations Industrial Development Organization, in 2016 China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico were accountable for nearly 75% of the total manufacturing production from developing and emerging industrial economies with China alone having 55% of the total. As a consequence of such humongous manufacturing output, the demand for benzalkonium chloride from several industries in APAC is constantly growing. A list of facts in support of the above argument-

 The dominance of APAC in the global biocide market lucrative for benzalkonium chloride market demand:

In the flourishing global biocide market valued to be $7.7 billion as of 2018, APAC had the leading share of 36% in global demand. Benzalkonium chloride constituting hydrophilic cationic group is an integral disinfectant constituent of biocides that finds application in various industries including healthcare, wastewater treatment, agriculture, food and beverages, paints, coatings, paper, plastics, and construction. As India and China, globally dominate the end-user verticals of the biocides market, BZK market is leveraging the demand for biocides generated in APAC. Benzalkonium chloride solutions are fast-acting biocidal agents active against bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. Humongous demand for biocides is generated from the global fertilizer, textile as well as wastewater treatment industries, which are eventually adding impetus to BZK market demand. For instance, more than 40% of the world’s production of clothing and textiles is in China and India, according to the Textile Association (India).

50% share in global paints and coatings market belongs to APAC; China responsible:

In the global paints and coatings market size evaluated to be $127.855 billion in 2018, APAC had the leading share of more than 44% in global demand. Financial data by World Paints and Coatings Industry Association (WPCIA) states that global revenue witnessed an upsurge of 4.9% and was valued to be $164.9 billion in 2018. APAC was responsible for 50% of the global output volume with China encompassing about two-thirds of the regional market. Hence, the globally flourishing paints and coatings market is beneficial for global as well as APAC’s benzalkonium chloride market. BZK acts as emulsifier and preservative in coating chemicals for paints. Since the trade cycle of paints requires an elongated shelf life, its application as a preservative in imperative. Moreover, the antimicrobial peculiarity of BZK is beneficial for substrates such as automotive, concrete, wood, and textiles. 

Flourishing APAC’s chemical sector driving benzalkonium chloride market:

According to the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), APAC holds the apex spot with 51% share in global chemical sector GVA, a value estimated to be $1.1 trillion (2017). In terms of contribution towards GDP, this region had a 45% share ($2.6 trillion) of total GDP contribution from the global chemical sector. Out of this, China alone had a share of $1.5 trillion, which surpasses the entire share of North America, Europe that stood at $866 billion and $1.3 trillion respectively. Benzalkonium chloride has an extensive range of application in the chemical industry as a phase transfer catalyst, emulsifier, de-emulsifier, and precipitant; hence, it is leveraging the robust growth of the chemical industry in APAC. Industrial chemicals are inevitable constituent to an array of industries such as oil and gas, water treatment, polymers, and textiles. As these adjacent sectors are undergoing vigorous development, the chemical industry is estimated to be the fastest-growing end-user vertical in BZK market progressing with a CAGR of 9% going through 2025.

Growth prospects in the global cosmetic industry attributable to BZK market growth:

The global cosmetics industry was estimated to be worth a staggering $445 billion (2016) in terms of sales revenue, which had a direct impact on the global cosmetic ingredients market. The global benzalkonium chloride market vendors are leveraging this surge in personal care products demand as BZK is an imperative cosmetic ingredient with applications in a broad array of products such as shampoos, personal cleanliness products, skin cleansers, and skincare and eye makeup preparations. Growing disposable incomes amalgamated with changing lifestyles are creating awareness and demand for sun & skincare products; hence, the market is poised for exponential growth. Benzalkonium chloride is applied in cosmetics as an antimicrobial ingredient to enhance the lifespan of products. Since the global cosmetic market has evolved from a feminine centric arena towards a category serving both the sexes, this expansion in the cosmetic industry is the benefactor of benzalkonium chloride market demand growth.

Benzalkonium Chloride Market Companies:

Some of the key players with substantial shares in global BZK market revenue and efforts in R&D for refinement of the commodity are Kao Group, Quat-chem Ltd., Novo Nordisk Pharmatech A/S, Stepan Company, Aarti Industries Ltd., Boke Water Treatment Co, Ltd, Delta Chemsol, FeF Chemicals, Manus Aktteva Biopharma LLP, and Jinshan Jingwei Chemical Co., Ltd.

After recent approvals by FDA, BZK market demand has witnessed an upthrust. The market players with an international presence are trying to capitalize these application approvals by expanding their distribution channel. For example in 2019, Novo Nordisk Pharmatech A/S partnered with DKSH’s Business Unit Performance Materials, a leading ingredients and specialty chemicals distributor for distribution of its quats that includes Benzalkonium Chloride (BKC), Cetrimonium Bromide (CTAB), Cetrimide and Strong Cetrimide. The chemical distributor will distribute these quats to the large customer base in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Singapore.


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