The US soap and detergent manufacturing industry includes about 650 companies with combined annual revenue of more than $30 billion. Major companies in the consumer sector include divisions of Procter & Gamble (P&G); Colgate-Palmolive; and Dial. Major companies in the commercial sector include divisions of Ecolab and US Chemical. The industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies generate about 90 percent of revenue. Competitive Landscape
Population growth, particularly among households with children, drives demand in the consumer sector, and economic growth drives demand in the commercial sector. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and effective sales and marketing. Large companies have scale advantages in purchasing, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by offering specialized products, providing superior customer service, or serving a local market. The industry is capital-intensive: average annual revenue per worker is more than $1 million.
The industry is about evenly split between the consumer and commercial segments. Both segments are highly competitive, and large companies spend millions to maintain market share. Products, Operations & Technology
Major products include laundry detergent, soap, dishwashing detergent, and toothpaste. Laundry detergent accounts for 40 percent of industry revenue, soap for 20 percent, and dishwashing detergent for 15 percent. Laundry detergent comes in powder or liquid form, and may contain bleach additives or color brighteners. Dishwashing detergent comes in powder, liquid, or gel form. Soap comes in bars or liquids, and may have moisturizing, antibacterial, or deodorant benefits. Companies in the commercial sector may also sell dispensing equipment and provide related training.
Detergent production starts by combining liquid and dry ingredients. Spray drying produces powder detergents by...