The global super absorbent polymers (SAP) market was valued at USD 9.44 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period. The industry is expected to grow over the forecast period owing to the increasing demand for baby diapers, along with female hygiene and adult incontinence products with rising awareness about hygiene.
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The personal care industry has shown significant growth in the past few years creating a consumer base for products that aid in personal sanitization which is further anticipated to drive the growth for super absorbent polymers.
The birth rate is growing across the globe which boosts the demand for baby diapers. As they are manufactured using super absorbent polymers, the industry shows prominent growth potential over the coming years. End-use industries are focusing on product portfolio expansion through innovation which aids in a new and improved application for super absorbent polymers in several industries adding to the growth for super absorbent polymers.
Government promotes its use in water-scarce regions, as it is useful in water retention even at high pressure allowing it to be used in agricultural products, which is projected to fuel the growth. Nations such as the U.K., the U.S., Australia, and Germany consist of initiatives by authorities to support the use of personal sanitation products which contributes to the growing demand for super absorbent polymer in the countries.
Super absorbent polymers can absorb a large quantity of water without getting dissolved. Its capacity to store water depends upon its aqueous solution. They have a cross-linked structure enabling high affinity thus found applications largely in healthcare and personal hygiene sectors.
The market is primarily segmented on the basis of type, application, and geographic region.
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The market was led by sodium polyacrylate in the year 2020 in terms of volume and has the capability to retain the position as a market leader over the forecast period owing to its use in personal hygiene products. It has high absorption capacity, fast suction of blood, and good gel strength along with strong wetness resistance which expands the effectiveness of sanitary towels, pet pads, and paper pads.
The polyacrylamide segment of the super absorbent polymers industry is projected to show market growth over the forecast period with its escalating consumption in papermaking, water treatment, and extensive use in the manufacturing of adult and baby diapers.
The market for the super absorbent polymer is bifurcated into baby diapers, agricultural, female hygiene products, adult incontinence products, and others. In the year 2020, baby diapers had the leading revenue share and reported three-quarters of the global revenue for the application segment. Increasing population, hectic lifestyle, and rising disposable income are the key elements projected to drive the growth for the sector over the forecast period.
The agriculture application segment has market growth potential in the coming years with the growing integration of super absorbent polymer in agricultural products. It aids in soil irrigation and improves seed incubation.
The adult incontinence market has the potential to attract a larger market share in the forthcoming years caused by the rising geriatric population across the globe. Several firms are working on educating female youth about the significance of sanitation which is anticipated to act as a medium in market development.
Europe super absorbent polymers industry dominated the market with the highest revenue among all the regions. Super absorbent polymers have high-water retention and absorption quality which is useful in baby diapers and thus have growing market demand from manufacturers in the region. Emerging eCommerce and changing lifestyles are crucial growth drivers supporting market advancement in the region.
Asia Pacific super absorbent polymers is expected to show considerable growth as evolving economies across the globe are focusing on catering to growing product demand. Baby diapers also have several opportunities in nations such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam which further stimulate the growth in the region.
China has the largest market share for the region in the year 2020, owing to rising demand from adult incontinence products and female hygiene manufacturing industries. An end-User shift towards personal hygiene with growing awareness about cleansing is the major market driver for super absorbent polymers in the region.
Nations such as Japan and the US are expected to show low market growth over the forecast period with a low fertility rate and decreasing birth rate. It has resulted in decreasing demand for baby diapers in these nations, hindering the market growth for super absorbent polymers.
Prominent players operating in the global super absorbent polymers market include BASF (Germany), Nippon Shokubai (Japan), Evonik (Germany), LG Chem (South Korea), Sumitomo (Japan), SDP Global (Japan), Formosa (Taiwan), Satellite Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (China), Yixing Danson (China), and Kao Corporation (Japan).
Companies are focusing on mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, expansions, and R&D to gain a competitive edge. In the year 2021, BASF (Germany) invested $30.1 million in the construction of the hygiene business in Belgium. It empowers the organization in high tech innovating for its absorbent polymer business. Nippon Shokubi corporation a company based in Japan formed a joint venture with Total Care System and LiveDo Corporation, in November 2020 for establishing technologies that recycle disposable diapers.
The market for super absorbent polymers is extremely competitive with several international players competing to gain market share. Buyers have higher bargaining power than the supplier allowing them to switch the brand for change in quality or price. Government policies encourage market development permitting new market players to enter the competition creating a threat for the present industries.