The global superabsorbent polymers (SAP) market is highly concentrated as the top six companies accounted for a share of over 90.4% in 2013, states Transparency Market Research (TMR) in a new report. The leading players are focusing on enhancing production capacities to meet the growing demand for superabsorbent polymers across the world. Key players such as Nippon Shokubai, BASF SE, Evonik Industries, Sumito Seika Chemicals Co., San-Dia Polymer, and LG Chem are striving to gain a competitive edge over each other by focusing on the production of bio-based polymers due to the implementation of strict regulations regarding the use of petroleum-based polymers. The support from environmental regulatory bodies for the use of bio-based polymers is likely to open a plethora of opportunities for new entrants in the global superabsorbent polymers market.
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The global superabsorbent polymers market is expected to expand at a 5.5% CAGR between 2014 and 2020. The market was worth US$6.71 bn in 2015 and is expected to rise to a valuation of US$8.78 bn by the end of 2020. In terms of application, the baby diapers segment emerged as the leading consumer of superabsorbent polymer in 2013 with a share of 74.7% in the global superabsorbent polymers market. It is expected to account for a share of 75.1% in 2020. Superabsorbent polymers are used in the manufacturing of baby diapers due their high absorption characteristic. Europe will considerably contribute to the demand for SAPs thanks to the high consumption of baby diapers here.
North America to Emerge Dominant Owing to Growing Use of Incontinence and Hygiene Products
Regionally, North America emerged dominant in terms of consumption of superabsorbent polymers in 2013 with a market worth US$1.93 bn in 2015. The North America superabsorbent market is projected to touch a value of US$2.49 bn by 2020. The rising birth rate in countries in North America is fueling the demand for baby diapers. Likewise, the soaring demand for female hygiene products here is furthering the demand for superabsorbent polymers. Moreover, the growing geriatric population in the region is likely to push the market for adult incontinence products. On account of all these factors, the superabsorbent polymers market is expected to witness strong growth over the coming years.
Hygiene Concerns to Steer Demand for SAP from End-use Industries
“The alarming rise in the number of diseases occurring from poor hygiene conditions has impelled people to adopt hygienic sanitary and incontinence products in developing countries,” says a TMR analyst. Diseases such as gastroenteritis, scabies, hepatitis A, and pneumonia are caused by parasitic, bacterial, and viral invaders due to unhygienic sanitary conditions. Concerns regarding the spread of these diseases have led to an increase in the adoption of suitable hygiene habits and conditions among people in developed and developing countries. As a result of this, the sales of products such as sanitary napkins, diapers, tissues, and sanitizers has considerably increased. The demand for superabsorbent polymers for the manufacturing of these products is rising, especially in countries such as South Korea, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico, and China owing to the robust economic growth of these countries.
Volatility in Raw Material Prices to Obstruct Market Growth
Materials used in the production of superabsorbent polymers are petroleum derivatives. For instance, acrylic acid is a material used in SAP and it is derived from propylene. Volatility in the prices of petroleum is likely to bring instability in producer margins. The high cost of raw materials is also anticipated to affect the manufacturing cost of SAP, thus hindering the growth of the market. As the production of SAP is energy intensive, the fluctuating cost of energy sources is another factor that is expected to challenge the growth of the market.
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This review is based on a Transparency Market Research report titled, “Superabsorbent Polymers Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014–2020.”
The report segments the global superabsorbent polymers (SAP) market as:
Superabsorbent Polymers (SAP) Market - Product Segment Analysis
- Sodium polyacrylate
- Polyacrylamide copolymer
- Others (Ethylene-maleic anhydride copolymer, polyvinyl alcohol copolymers, etc.)
Superabsorbent Polymers (SAP) Market - Application Analysis
- Baby diapers
- Adult incontinence products
- Feminine hygiene products
- Others (Paper packaging, medical, agriculture, etc.)
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