9. Economic Aspects
9.2. Laundry Detergents
In 1998, total world production of soap bars and laundry detergents was 21.5 106t.
Again, the tonnage varies among the global regions and individual countries (Table 43).
Worldwide, powder detergents continue to constitute the largest section of the total textile washing and cleaning products market, both in volume and value terms. The powder detergents category is prominent due to the well-established nature of the standard powder delivery form, and latterly the market performance of the tablet laundry detergents, introduced into several markets in the late 1990s and 2000.
Figure 94. Production capacities of zeolite A in Europe (103t) 
Table 43. World production of soap bars and powder, liquid and paste laundry detergents in 1998, 103t
Bosnia-Herzegowina - 2 - - 2
Bulgaria - 7 - - 7
United Kingdom - 337 80 - 417
Total Europe 183 3997 616 21 4817
Total North America - 1493 1493 - 2986
Argentina 62 143 18 - 223
Brazil 550 640 10 - 1200
Mexico 241 846 41 4 1132
Others 544 584 13 10 1151
Total Latin America 1397 2213 82 14 3706
Congo 57 81 - - 138
Egypt 220 350 - 1 571
Kenya 122 82 10 31 245
Nigeria 151 82 - - 233
South Africa 63 163 9 2 237
Others 120 269 5 1 395
Total Africa 733 1027 24 35 1819
China 274 1508 13 107 1902
India 965 1500 9 - 2474
Indonesia 42 180 1 260 483
Iran 5 265 10 - 280
Japan 23 522 50 - 595
Philippines 244 61 - - 305
Saudi-Arabia 12 122 - 4 138
South Korea 35 109 2 - 146
Turkey 82 230 2 - 314
Exceptions are the USA, where liquid laundry products took over the lead in the 1990s;
Indonesia, whose market is dominated by detergent pastes; and the Philippines, where the vast majority of consumers use soap bars. India is the world's largest single market by volume for soap bars, but here, too, powders dominate and continue to grow at the expense of bars.
In terms of value, total textile washing products amounted to sales of $ 17.7 109in the seven major single markets (USA, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Spain) in 1999 . These markets are best characterized by having a high degree of maturity, along with fierce price competition and high advertising expenditures. Four of these markets registered positive gross value growth over the period 1995 through 1999. This translates into a positive real value growth of the U.S. market of almost 13 %, whereas Germany, Italy, and Japan recorded real value declines of 6.5 %, 11.7 %, and 7.6 %, respectively. Due to their high levels of saturation and maturity, continuous product innovations play an important role in stimulating these major markets.
Within the powder detergents sector, conventional products claim most of the sales in France, Italy, Spain, and the UK, whilst the (super)concentrated powders are more popular in Germany, Japan, and the USA for various reasons, such as space-constraints in the home (Japan), reduced packaging costs, space-saving benefits, and consumers' greater environmental awareness (Germany), as well as consumer perceived greater convenience and product benefits vs. retail price (USA).
In the liquid detergent sector, concentrated products form the larger subsector in Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Conventional liquid detergents lead in France, Italy, and Spain.
Within the category of other detergents, fine-fabric specialty detergents lead in most of the seven major markets, ahead of handwashing detergents and detergent bars.
Changing lifestyles and increased saturation of the washing-machine market have contributed to considerably reduced consumption of products of the last two subsec-tors.
Others 574 719 56 64 1413
Total Asia 2256 5216 143 435 8050
Total Australia 1 115 44 - 160
World Grand Total 4570 14061 2402 505 21538
(Source: Ciba Speciality Chemicals Ltd., Switzerland)
9.3. Fabric Softeners
Europe is the major consumer of rinse-cycle fabric softeners. A number of reasons explain this, including the fact that European tap water on average is relatively hard and the fact that the vast majority of drum-type washing machines are equipped with separate dispensers for laundry aids in Europe. Apart from the USA and Japan, products in this class continue to be relatively insignificant in volume in the rest of the world. Figure 95 provides information about European fabric softener consumption for the year 1999. These consumption figures represent both conventional fabric softeners, which contain 4 to 8 % active ingredients, and concentrated softeners, which usually have 12 to 30 % active cationics. After a period of decreasing consumption in the 1980s, fabric softeners enjoyed growth in both value and volume in the 1990s.
Concentrated fabric softeners have dramatically increased their market share at the expense of diluted conventional softeners. The shares of concentrated softeners in Europe in 1998 varied from some 20 % in Italy to 98 % in Germany. Use of concentrated products saves packaging materials and transportation costs and reduces the amount of waste. To further decrease waste, part of the concentrated fabric softeners are sold as refill packages in many European countries. Their share of total concentrates varies from 10 % in Belgium to some 65 % in France. Fabric softener sheets, which are very popular in the USA as laundry dryer aids, find only very limited use in Europe and Japan. The share of softener sheets ranges from 0 to 5 % of the fabric softener market in European countries.
Figure 95. Consumption of fabric softeners in Europe in 1999 (source: Leading International Market Research Institute)
Total consumption of fabric softeners in Japan was some 250 000 t in 1998, about 40 % of which were concentrated products.
9.4. Other Laundry Aids
In the seven major detergent markets, laundry aids comprise a wide number of subcategories, with spot and stain removers and laundry bleach claiming the leading positions in most key markets. Although chlorine bleaches have been used for textile washing for many years, the introduction of color-safe, non-chlorine bleaches led to a considerable consumption of this subcategory in the 1990s. Laundry bleach accounts for the largest share of sales in the USA, Spain, and Italy.