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Palm-based Oleochemical in Pakistan’s Booming Beauty and Personal Care Industry

Palm Oleochemical in Personal care and beauty products

Palm oil, the most productive oil crop, is found in a wide range of personal care products, including liquid detergents, soaps, shampoos, lipstick, waxes, polishes, and make-up. The property of palm oil as versatile, chemically stable, productive, and inexpensive oil makes it more preferred in the oleochemical industry. Of total world production, 24% of palm oil is used in the non-food sector, and 71% by the food industry. The balance of 5% oil is used for biofuels (USDA, 2018).

Personal care and beauty products in Pakistan

Pakistan, a vast country with a population of approximately 220 million, is one of the biggest consumer markets in the Asian continent. The political and economic stability over the last 4 years has had a positive impact on general consumer expenditure. One of the fastest expanding consumer market segments in Pakistan is the beauty & personal care market especially the cosmetics and skincare divisions.

The generational shift towards the young consumers in the market is the main key component for the strong rise in the personal care market. At the same time, social media, internationality, and eCommerce, all of which have a long-term impact on beauty product purchasing behaviour, are reinforcing this shift. Global trends are infiltrating and altering the daily beauty and grooming regimen. Despite the pandemic, the total revenue in the Beauty & Cosmetics Industry in Pakistan estimated to amount to about US$5,508m in 2021 and estimated to grow steadily for the next 5 years.

Table 1: Estimated Revenue in the Beauty & Cosmetics Industry in Pakistan from 2021 to 2025

  2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
Cosmetics 823 905 998 1,078 1,166
Fragrances 1,050 1,128 1,213 1,278 1,348
Personal Care 2,734 2,929 3,140 3,293 3,457
Skin Care 902 963 1,029 1,076 1,125
Total (USD Mil) 5,508 5,926 6,380 6,725 7,096


In relation to the total population figures in Pakistan, US$24.46 of revenue per capita is projected to be generated in the year 2021. The market is expected to grow annually by 6.54% (CAGR 2021-2025). This segment creates a potential increase in palm-based oleochemical usage in Pakistan.

Palm Oleochemical production in Malaysia

Malaysia continues to be one of the leading producers and exporters of palm-based oleo in the world. The total export of Malaysian oleochemicals products for the year 2020 amounted to 3.058 million MT, decreasing by 6.7% from 3.28 million MT in 2019. Despite total export volumes being lower, however, the export value recorded an increment of 1.4% to RM 12,467 million from RM 12,299 million valued in 2019. (MPOB, 2020).

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Main Export of Palm-based Oleochemical to Pakistan

Export of palm oleochemical from Malaysia to Pakistan 29,177 MT in the year 2020 with a total value of RM117 Million. 

Source: MPOB

Palm-based Lauric acid is the most popular product that is imported to Pakistan. Almost 7,000 MT of palm-based lauric acid is imported to Pakistan in the year 2020 from Malaysia.  Lauric acid is widely used in personal care products and a popular ingredient in skin care due to its natural mild fragrance and excellent antiaging, moisturising, conditioning properties. it’s widely used as a base for cleansing agents.

Other than lauric acid, another popular product that is being imported to Pakistan is palm-based glycerine. Around 2000MT of palm-based glycerine is imported to Pakistan in the year 2020. Palm-based glycerine is used in numerous cosmetics and personal care products to provide softness and lubrication. The most popular usage of glycerine is in soaps, toothpaste, shaving cream, and skin/hair care products. The unique property of glycerine for the prevention of skin dryness makes it more suitable to be used in hand sanitizing products which have become popular due to pandemic.  

Apart from the other 2 products, palm-based palmitic acid is equally preferred in Pakistan. Around 2000MT of palmitic acid is imported from Malaysia in the year 2020. Palmitic acid also plays important role in personal care products that act as a surfactant (detergent), emulsifier (facilitating agent in oil and water) and opacifying agent to softens the skin. (incibueaty,, 2020).

With the estimation of the CAGR of 6.54% per year growth of the personal care industry in Pakistan, the export of palm-based oleochemical to Pakistan has big growth potential.

Prepared by: Theventharan Batumalai 

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