Alcohol-based disinfectants are anti-microbial agents that are usually applied on a surface to kill microorganisms and provide a germ-free environment. The global alcohol-based disinfectant market is growing on account of industrial applications in medical, paint, cosmetics, and soap industries, among others. Since alcohol-based disinfectants efficiently kill harmful germs and evaporate, they register strong demand in sanitization processes.
Growing healthcare expenditure is a key factor that drives the adoption of alcohol-based disinfectants. According to the World Bank, global healthcare expenditure grew from USD 3,786 billion to USD 7,427 billion during 2003–2013, recording 7% growth.
The global alcohol-based disinfectant market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 8% during the forecast period, 2019–2026.
The increasing demand for industrial and domestic disinfectants will drive market growth during the forecast period. The medical industry, specifically, witnesses significant demand for alcohol-based disinfectants due to the requirement of a sterile environment in medical facilities. Sanitizers efficiently kill germs and, subsequently, prevent users from falling ill and contracting illnesses. A CDC study on 6,000 students across 16 elementary schools found that absenteeism reduced 19.8% with the continuous usage of alcohol gel hand sanitizers in classrooms.
The paint industry is a prominent application area for alcohol-based disinfectants as these disinfectants are added in paints to kill germs and other microorganisms. Similarly, alcohol-based disinfectants are also added to soaps and cosmetics. Overall, paint, soap, and cosmetic industries are expected to account for significant value shares in the global alcohol-based disinfectant market. Hospitals constitute the most promising application area due to the widespread use of alcohol-based disinfectants for disinfection and preventing contamination.
The hospital industry is the most promising industry among all in the alcohol-based disinfectant market on account of the rising prevalence of injections. The accelerated growth of alcohol-based disinfectants in the hospital industry augments the global market value. The aerosol spray segment has been witnessing considerable growth since the past few years, which can be attributed to the use of alcohol-based disinfectants for adhesion and coverage to hard surfaces, including bath, countertops, and toilets.
Isopropyl alcohol is a solution comprising 10–40% purified water with 90–40% alcohol. Water acts as a catalyst in denaturing the proteins of vegetative cell membranes, while alcohol inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. Isopropyl alcohol-based disinfectants can be classified into three alcohol ratios, namely below 50% alcohol concentration (disinfects), 70% alcohol concentration (penetrates into the cell wall and kills microorganisms), and more than 91% alcohol concentration (kills viruses but requires more contact time for disinfection). Each of these concentrations finds applications in industrial verticals for different needs.
Ethyl alcohol, owing to its quick-drying and fast action, coupled with its soft feel and compatibility with sensitive skin, finds application in moisturizers. Furthermore, ethyl alcohol is present in alcoholic beverages, which are widely used around the world for recreational activities.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are used extensively in hospitals, soaps, medicals, and homes. With rising urbanization, hand sanitizers are increasingly being used as an alternative to soaps in homes. These sanitizers – available in the form of gel, liquid, and foam – kill microbial and other harmful germs. Hand sanitizers have been gaining popularity from a commercial standpoint with consumers in eastern parts of the globe attracts towards the western culture. Further, promotional campaigns and media coverage are also providing excellent growth opportunities for the market. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are easily available in hypermarkets, drug stores, and grocery stores, as well as online stores.
North America holds the largest share in the global alcohol-based disinfectant market on account of the presence of developed countries (the U.S. and Canada) and developing countries (Mexico). The regulatory environment in North America has been fostering market growth to a great degree. For instance, in the U.S., in healthcare settings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates high level disinfectants/liquid chemical sterilants such as hydrogen peroxide, glutaraldehyde, and peracetic acid, whereas the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates disinfectants that are used on environmental surfaces, including clinical contact surfaces and house-keeping surface. Furthermore, disinfectants intended for use on house-keeping surface and clinical contact surfaces are regulated in interstate commerce by the Antimicrobials Division, Office of Pesticide Programs, EPA, under the authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), compliance to 40 CFR 152.
The growing emphasis on public health in North America is also bolstering market growth in the region. According to the Economic Survey of the U.S. data, healthcare expenditure accounted for 17.2% of the country’s GDP in 2016 and is estimated to account for around 18.5% of the GDP by 2021. The rapid increase in healthcare expenditure will foster demand in the region and provide impetus to the alcohol-based disinfectant market.
Asia-Pacific (APAC) is tipped to be the fastest-growing region globally due to the presence of emerging economies such as India, China, Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. India’s disinfectant market is stepping into the top five revenue-generating economies in the alcohol-based disinfectant market. The government of India has classified product standards under Schedule ‘O,’ and colors are permitted under Rule 127 & Schedule Q of Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Such favorable government initiatives and measures help the regional market grow and, ultimately, provide a positive industrial landscape.
The market is competitive in nature, and a smaller number of alcohol-based disinfectant market participants hold dominant value shares. The most notable market participants include 3M Company, BODE Chemie GmbH, Reckitt Benckiser, DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, and Ecolab Inc.