Growing Need for Bio-degradable Brighteners to Aid in Adoption of Eco-friendly Optical Brighteners

Owing to the progress of the textile industry in developing countries such as Mexico, Turkey, Taiwan, China, and India, the demand for optical brighteners has significantly increased. Although optical brighteners are mainly used in detergents for providing brightness to clothes, the application of optical brighteners in the cosmetics, paper, detergent and soap, and packaging sectors is further expected to drive the sales of optical brighteners across the world. Moreover, the strong growth in various industries in Asia Pacific is anticipated to considerably boost the demand for optical brighteners in the coming years in the region. However, high cost of raw materials can pose a threat to the production of optical brighteners. Among the various optical brighteners, the consumption of stilbene is likely to rise owing to its growing application in various vertical industries and it is expected to dominate the global optical brighteners market until 2023.

According to a report published by Transparency Market Research, the global optical brighteners market is projected to rise at a CAGR of 4.1% from 2015 to 2023. In 2014, the global optical brighteners market stood at a value of US$1.12 bn and is projected to rise to a valuation of US$1.71 bn by the end of 2023. 

Q.What factors are likely augment the demand for optical brighteners across the world? 

Optical brighteners have applications in several sectors other than the textile industry. They are used as an additive in the cosmetic and skin care and synthetic and plastics industries as well. Optical brighteners are used as fluorescent brightening agents in several cosmetics and skin care products. The growth in the textile industry along with vertical industries is anticipated to boost the adoption of optical brighteners in the coming years. Furthermore, the burgeoning demand from the synthetics and plastics industry for features of optical brighteners such as chemical stability, heat resistance capability, light fastness, and high fluorescence is further anticipated to rise over the next couple of years. 

Q.How will the adverse health impact of optical brighteners affect the growth of the market? 

As optical brighteners are non-biodegradable, their use in various sectors has possibilities of environmental threats. Moreover, they are likely to leave a long lasting impact on clothes after they are washed and cause skin infections. The same applies to the use of optical brighteners in cosmetics and several skin care products. As a result of this, governments of several countries imposed stringent regulations on the use of optical brighteners in detergents and other products. To meet the regulations and desired industry standards, companies operating in the global optical brighteners market are substantially investing in research and development activities in order to develop eco-friendly products.


For instance, recently, Procter & Gamble announced the launch of Tide purclean, a bio-degradable and environment friendly detergent. They said that the product has been certified by the USDA BioPreferred program with a Certified Biobased label.

Q.What are the opportunities from which manufacturers of optical brighteners can gain from in future?

Optical brighteners have applications in various sectors. The flourishing application of optical brighteners in photo processing and printing inks industries is likely to provide manufacturers of optical brighteners with lucrative growth opportunities in the coming years. The ongoing research and development activities in order to expand the application base of optical brighteners are further expected to enhance the adoption of optical brighteners in future.

Geographically, Asia Pacific emerged as the leading region in terms of consumption with a share of 38% in 2014 and is likely to maintain a lead until 2023. The key players in the global optical brighteners market are Eastman Chemical Company, Huntsman Corporation, AkzoNobel N.V., and BASF SE. 

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