A hand wash is the common appellation given to an alcohol-based solution or preparation mainly under the format of a liquid, gel or foam. This hand wash is used to eliminate all sorts of pathogens and micro-organisms that exist on the hands as to inactivate and exterminate them. The rate of suppression of these elements varies from a hand wash to another depending on the concentration of active ingredients and their potency. Hand washing presents an essential part in the practice of hand hygiene as it reduces significantly the spread of germs and the dangers of contamination. After the surge in terms of the awareness of the importance of hand hygiene, the market of hand wash is expected to grow and evolve. Many varieties of hand washes are now available on the market, each offering different properties, scents and packaging.
The key factors supporting the growth of the hand wash market:
It has been proven that hands and whilst being in contact with different surfaces can collect a variety of harmful and infectious germs and micro-organisms, that crawl into our respiratory and digestive systems as soon as we touch our faces. Eating or touching one’s face with contaminated hands has been known to cause many respiratory illnesses, salmonella, e-coli as well as trouble in the gastrointestinal organs. Consequentially, the majority of the global population has developed a growing awareness regarding the importance of hygiene and its direct impact of the health. This awareness along with the various campaigns led by global healthcare institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the mass media as to sensitize people as well as many renowned celebrities’ endorsements for this matter has generated the growth of the hand wash market as well as other hand hygiene products.
Another boosting factor was the integration of hand wash departments in many big skincare brands that caught the customers’ attention with their appealing formulas and their attractive packaging to make them purchase hand washes as a vital part of their skincare routines. The market has been thriving ever since with unique formulations ranging from chemical-free to vegan and cruelty-free options to adapt to the needs and requirements of customers without forgetting to integrate outstanding antibacterial properties and a wide range of fragrances. These factors are all secondary to what is now the most urgent and preoccupying need for hand washes that is the current worldwide pandemic of Covid-19, that necessitates as a preventive measure the constant and thorough washing of hands to stop any contamination and control the spread of the virus. Hand washing with specialized soaps and products is no longer a luxury but a necessity and an obligation established by the global safety guidelines to protect oneself and the others from the harmful and infectious pathogens that could exist on our hands. All of these factors combined show to what a great extent the hand wash market is expected to grow and rise in value and profitability.
The study of the market:
The market size:
The hand wash market segment represents the largest share in the market of personal hygiene products with a rate of 40%, it is anticipated to retain this position for much longer due to its high importance and its biggest contribution in the maintaining and upkeep of the basic hygiene as well as its large usage and application in many contexts and on a daily basis. The global hand wash market has been valued at USD 12.4 billion in the year 2018 and is expected to expand with a CAGR of 4.5% by the end of the year 2025. However, these speculative numbers are in constant rise in the light of the current pandemic situation and the ever-growing needs in terms of hand hygiene both in the domestic and public usage.
The market share:
The hand wash market is mainly dominated by a selection of key players that usually monopolize the entirety of the cleaning and personal hygiene products. These keys players create a competitive landscape between each other as to create an atmosphere of innovative ideas and relevant trends and dynamics in the market. Among the key players of this market are Reckitt Benckiser Group plc., Procter and Gamble, Unilever, 3M, NEW AVON LLC., Kao Chemicals, Pental Products, Bluemoon Bodycare, Lion Corporation, Godrej Consumer Products, GOJO Industries, Jahwa, Whealthfields Lohmann, Beiersdorf, Johnson & Johnson Services and PHILOSOPHY INC. These major manufacturers establish many innovative strategies to consolidate the competitive landscape which leads the market as a whole into a substantial growth and an optimal response to the customers’ requirements. In the light of the urgent demand for hand washes due to the global pandemic and the inability of each of these manufacturers to provide the sufficient supply on its own, many collaborations and partnerships between them have been established to push further the quality, the pace and the volume of the global production.
The market segmentation:
The market of hand washes is not exempt from the repartition and segmentation of its products in terms of various aspects. The analysis of the hand wash market would not be completely apprehended without the study of each segment: the first being based on the type of the product, the second on its various applications, the third on its distribution channels, the fourth on the end-users and the last on the geographical distribution.
i. Segmentation based on the product type:
Hand washes come in different compositions and formulations, each with varying properties and applications:
• Liquid hand wash.
• Gel hand wash.
• Bar soap hand wash.
• Foam hand wash.
These segments also comprise two varieties depending on the typology of the products using in manufacturing the hand wash in question namely, conventional and organic products.
The liquid hand wash segment retains the largest share of the market with a rate of 60%, this domination is due to the fact that liquid soaps are more trusted than bar soaps in exterminating the germs and micro-organisms as their packaging and mode of usage is seen as more sanitary. Moreover, these liquid hand washes contain a low pH level making them gentler and more adequate for usage by skins that are on the sensitive side, along with the wide availability of these products by trustworthy brands and companies that appeal the customers to buy them more than the other types. However, the gel hand washes are also expected to rise in popularity due to their higher concentration in alcohol and their reputation for being more antiseptic and antibacterial than the other types of hand washes. On the other hand, the hand washes consisting of conventional products are dominating the market with a value of 60% due to their high cost-effectiveness and their wider availability in retail stores, as well as their immense range of choices and options in terms of scent, packaging and formulation. However, the rising concerns of the customers regarding the dangers of the chemicals that can be found in hand washes generated a surge in the demand of organic and natural hand washes segment making it grow with a CAGR of 6% in the horizon of 2025.
ii. Segmentation based on the application:
The applications of hand washes are diverse and widespread in many settings namely:
• Domestic use.
• Industrial use.
• Medical use.
• Other public uses.
The domestic use segment retains the majority of the market share in terms of hand washes, a domination that seems perfectly normal in light of the rising awareness of the importance of personal hygiene within households. However, public uses are also expected to grow substantially by the implementing of hand washes in public areas like bus stops, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets conformingly to the new safety guidelines established by many governments around the world to prevent from the spread of germs and viruses, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.
iii. Segmentation based on the distribution channels
Hand washes are vastly commercialized and sold to the public via different distribution channels such as:
• Supermarkets/ Hypermarkets.
• Convenience stores and pharmacies.
• Online stores.
The supermarkets/hypermarkets segment retains the largest share of the market and makes the highest revenue in terms of sales. They were registered for making more than USD 10 billion in the year 2018 and this number is anticipated to grow significantly in the upcoming years in light of the big demands in terms of hand washes with the current pandemic. Online stores segment is also rising in importance and in revenue due to its easy access and the wide range of choices it offers to the customers, for these reasons it is expected to grow in the market with a CAGR of 8% in the horizon of 2025 with the help of various renowned online retailers such as Amazon.
iv. Segmentation based on end users:
The end-users that benefit from the production of hand washes are:
• Commercial end-users.
• Medical end-users.
The commercial segment is in the first position in the market of hand washes, as it is the one that is in charge of dispatching these products to hotels, households, healthcare institutions, schools and other educational establishments, public transit, airports and so many other public areas.
v. Segmentation based on the geographical distribution:
The APAC region retains the largest share of the market in this regard and is expected to score a CAGR rate of 6.4% in the period from 2019 to 2015. This growth is due to the high awareness of the APAC region population of the importance of hand hygiene in the upkeep of one’s health. The North American segment is also expected to rise in market value due to the ever-growing numbers of customers in that region as well as the appealing offer and supply in many selling points as well as the online stores that makes these products more accessible and available for the North American population than the rest of the world.
The market forecast:
The antibacterial, germicidal and virucidal properties of hand washes are just what the world is looking for to maintain a decent level of personal hygiene and to be relatively ready to combat the recent outbreaks of infectious diseases. The growing demand on these vital products are leading the market to thrive more than ever and consolidating the competitive landscape, which impacts directly the trends and dynamics that shape this market and imposes on the manufacturers to reflect deeply upon how to rise above the myriad of challenges and restraints that face their industry.
The most common trends and dynamics that are anticipated to avail the reach and profitability of the hand wash market are the incorporating of more green and organic alternatives to the chemical and toxic components that most conventional hand washes are made of. The current vision of eco-friendly, green, vegan and cruelty free choices are appealing to people more than ever and are optimizing the product reach towards customers. These properties are also an effective label for these hand washes and a great commercialization technique in an era that cares tremendously about the meaning beneath things and searches for an image, a personal projection or an ideological symbolism even in their day-to-day consumerism. The endorsement based on social media is the prevailing future of most markets out there, and the hand wash market is not exempt to that. However, this commercialization technique would be kept theoretical and even in vain if the manufacturers don’t work even more actively in surpassing the drawbacks of their industry, mainly the high costs of their hand washes that makes these products a mere luxury and cannot be accessible to the mass population. The manufacturers need to think of how to cater to the needs and requirements of the customers all whilst making their products pocket-friendly and aiming towards a populist rather than elitist target, it is true that most conventional chemical-based hand washes are cost-effective but it is now the time to make even the organic and natural products more available and accessible to everyone because they are undoubtedly the prevailing future for a thriving industry.
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