The global superabsorbent polymer market was valued at US$ 9,106.02 Mn in 2017 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6.0% from 2018 to 2026, according to a new report titled ‘Superabsorbent Polymer Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026,’ published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) . The global superabsorbent polymer market is driven by the rise in demand for disposable baby diapers and sanitary products. Asia Pacific accounts for major share of the global superabsorbent polymer market, led by the increase in population and growth in awareness about hygienic products, diabetic wounds, and wound care products in the region.
Rise in Demand for Disposable Baby Diapers and Sanitary Products Projected to Drive Market
Superabsorbent polymers are capable of absorbing up to 500 times their own weight of liquid and forming a gel that locks fluids. Demand for these polymers is high in disposable baby diapers in developing countries such as China and India, primarily due to the rise in population and increase in birth rates in these countries. The birth rate in India stands at around 26 million to 27 million per year.
However, the rate of penetration of disposable baby diapers is as low as 2% to 3%. Changes in lifestyle and rise in demand for quality diapers with characteristics such as high water retention capacity and low skin rashes are augmenting the demand for superabsorbent polymers across the globe. Besides baby diapers, superabsorbent polymers are widely used in sanitary napkins and adult hygiene products. Various awareness programs regarding hygiene are organized by non-profit organizations in rural areas in developing countries. This is boosting the demand for superabsorbent polymers in sanitary products.
Increase in Agricultural Needs of Booming Population Likely to Offer Attractive Growth Opportunities
Rapid increase in global population has raised food security concerns. Underdeveloped and developing countries still lack proper farming practices. Inadequate arable land has put pressure on farmers to increase the yield of agricultural products. The year-on-year decrease in arable land per capita and increase in population are expected to augment the usage of superabsorbent polymers in the next few years. The water retention property of superabsorbent polymer helps farmers continue farming in adverse conditions. Environmental changes, including global warming, have resulted in irregular monsoons. This affects the harvest.
Superabsorbent polymers assist plant growth during droughts. They also enable plants to survive by reducing water requirement (up to 50%) in mountainous lands, dry lands, and desert areas. Rise in usage of superabsorbent polymer as a water conservation tool in large-scale farming; increase in popularity of landscaping of garden grass and golf courses; and growth in emerging applications of superabsorbent polymers in arboriculture are some of the factors anticipated to provide lucrative growth opportunities to the global superabsorbent polymer market.
Volatility in Raw Material Prices Anticipated to Hamper Superabsorbent Polymer Market
The global superabsorbent polymer market is prone to fluctuations in prices of raw materials such as acrylic acid. Constant volatility in prices of raw materials is adversely affecting the superabsorbent polymer market. The price of acrylic acid increased in Asia Pacific during September 2012 to 2013, due to the accidental damage to the Nippon Shokubai’s Himeji facility. Thus, tightening supply of acrylic acid due to the fluctuation in supply and prices of raw materials adversely affected the global superabsorbent polymer market. In May 2018, Evonik Industries AG raised the prices of superabsorbent polymers by 15% in Europe and the U.S. due to the high prices of raw materials in these regions.
Sodium Polyacrylate Segment to Dominate Global Superabsorbent Polymer Market
The global superabsorbent polymer market has been segmented based on resin, application, and region. Based on resin, the market can be divided into sodium polyacrylate, potassium polyacrylate, polyacrylamide copolymer, ethylene maleic anhydride copolymer, polysaccharides, and others. Sodium polyacrylate is the dominant segment of the superabsorbent polymer market. It is widely used in hygiene products such as diapers and sanitary pads. Agricultural grade of sodium polyacrylate is also available in the market. Properties such as good permeability, strong absorptive capacity, and easy maintenance are fueling the demand for sodium polyacrylate resins. Other applications of sodium polyacrylate include cables, ice bags, and wound dressings.
Asia Pacific Dominates Global Superabsorbent Polymer Market
In terms of region, Asia Pacific accounted for a major share of the global superabsorbent polymer market in 2017. Countries such as India, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia are expected to provide lucrative opportunities to manufacturers owing to the increase in disposable income, growth in population, expansion in end-use industries, and escalation in demand for high-quality products in health care, pharmaceutical, and personal hygiene sectors in these countries. Rise in population in Asia Pacific has also resulted in higher demand for food.
Growth in population has led to a decline in arable land per capita in the region. Superabsorbent polymers are capable of improving the arability of land. This is estimated to boost the market in Asia Pacific, particularly in China and India. Europe and North America are mature economies; therefore, the superabsorbent polymer market in these regions is expected to expand at a moderate pace during the forecast period. Increase in geriatric population and rise in research activities in the field of product innovation, typically in medical & pharmaceutical industry, is projected to drive the superabsorbent polymer market in North America and Europe during the forecast period.
High Degree of Competition among Established Players
Key players profiled in the report are Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd, BASF SE, Evonik Industries, Songwon Industrial Co., Ltd, KAO Corporation, Sanyo Chemical Industries, Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co. Ltd, LG Chem Ltd., Emerging Technologies Inc., Water-sorb, Tramfloc Inc., Yixing Danson Technology, Technical Absorbents, Hosokawa Micron B.V, and SOCO Chemical.
The top three players – Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd, BASF SE, and Evonik Industries – cumulatively accounted for more than 45% share of the market in 2017. Manufacturers of superabsorbent polymers are primarily concentrated in China, the U.S., Japan, and Germany.