Innovations at Henkel

For Henkel, as for so many businesses, innovation is key to securing ongoing success. Our vision foresees us as a global leader in brands and technologies, with innovation providing the platform. Our aim is to achieve our full potential in all our product categories while at the same time meeting both the requirements of consumers and the demands of our industrial customers. Hence, anchored in our corporate culture is a solid commitment to ensuring a constant stream of high-performance product and process developments, firmly focused on the needs of our markets.

Right from the get-go in 1876, innovation has been a prime mover in our evolution. In fact, the first German brand-name product in the laundry care domain – Henkel’s bleaching soda – engendered a whole new marketing approach. Weighed, packed and labeled in a sturdy paper bag, this inexpensive product made from water glass and soda heralded the start of Henkel’s success story. Business was given a further major boost in 1907 by another innovation: Persil, the world’s first self-acting laundry detergent. Without scrubbing or bleaching, laundry could suddenly be cleaned to a brilliant white in a single boil. And for more than 100 years now, Persil has consistently and progressively eliminated much of the daily toil associated with this chore. Onalkali, the first alkaline-free hair-washing product in the world, and the solvent-free Pritt glue stick followed in the years 1933 and 1968. Accompanied by a plethora of product developments, they count today among the many major innovations that have taken Henkel to its position at the top of the performance league.

“Innovations are of strategic significance for Henkel because they provide the basis of our future business success. Already today, around one third of our sales revenue is generated from newly developed products that have been in the marketplace for less than three years,” says Henkel CEO Kasper Rorsted. And this flow of innovative ideas is destined to remain extensive – and expansive. By constantly introducing attractive new developments under the umbrella of our strong brands, we intend to pursue our claim to innovation leadership in each our three main business sectors while meeting individual customer demands in all our areas of competence.


In the Laundry & Home Care business sector, the first brand-name products sold by company founder Fritz Henkel – precisely weighed quantities of heavy-duty detergents and bleaching soda in handy packs of identical design – smoothed the way for numerous innovations and new developments in the field of laundry and home care. The latest examples include the pre-dosed liquid detergent capsules of our top brands Persil, Dixan and Purex, and the innovative WC rim block Bref Power Aktiv – products that, once again, have enabled us to increase our sales worldwide and further extend our leading market positions.

In our Beauty Care business sector, too, innovations ensure that we are able to meet exacting customer requirements while at the same time promoting the success of both our global and our top regional brands. The first hair-washing powder in Germany was launched onto the market by Schwarzkopf in 1903, while our oil-containing hair-care products under the Bonacure, Syoss, Gliss Kur and got2b brands are just some of the current batch of successful product innovations. With the “Lighthouse” customer and innovation center that opened at our Düsseldorf site in 2012, we have established a further important basis for sustainable success. As an innovative and future-aligned forum for our customers, employees and investors, it provides a source of inspiration in which market demands and expert knowledge are married together for the procreation of new ideas.

In the Adhesive Technologies business sector, the success story began with the development of packaging adhesives. When, in 1923, a supply shortage in glue threatened to hamper the labeling of Henkel products, the company began manufacturing its own, and therefore – rather by accident – became an adhesives producer. With the introduction of top brands such as Pattex and Teroson, and also the acquisition of Loctite, Henkel has succeeded in constantly expanding its market positions and is today a pioneering developer of adhesive technologies. Indeed, having built up an extensive portfolio of innovative and high-quality industrial adhesives and sealants, we have, over the years, established ourselves as world market leader in the B2B segment.  Due in no small measure to our innovative strengths, we have thus become the first address for adhesives, sealants and surface treatment products. And we intend to continue driving technological trends and innovations as a means of securing future success.

As Henkel has developed, we have constantly kept one particular aspect in mind: sustainability. The perennial purpose behind our efforts in this domain is to ensure that our products provide added value and improved performance to the benefit of customers and consumers while at the same time keeping the associated ecological footprint to a minimum. To achieve this, we need innovations in the form of products, processes and technologies capable of creating more quality of life while at the same time reducing resource consumption, raw material depletion and CO2 emissions. Commensurate with our corporate strategy, Henkel’s focus is therefore on innovation coupled to sustainability, but without any compromise on product performance.

Aside from quality and sustainability, our innovations are characterized in particular by one further attribute: speed. We not only have innovative ideas, we also implement them quickly and effectively. As a globally structured corporation, we are able to introduce top innovations into our markets more speedily and more successfully than our competitors, and can effectively roll these successes out on a global scale. Henkel currently introduces up to three new products or lines per segment per annum, and has thus been able to increase its innovation rate in recent years to over 40%.

All Henkel, employees are encouraged to work together in the development of new, better and more sustainable solutions – in other words, to be constantly innovative. Trend-aligned innovations have always been the driving force of business development at Henkel, and new products, processes and applications will continue to provide the key to our success going forward.

Are you an inventor?

Henkel presents the Henkel Innovation Partnership Program