The market for super absorbent polymers (SAP) is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.24%, in terms of volume, during the forecast period of 2019-2024, as per ResearchAndMarkets.com.
Major factors driving the market are the rising hygiene awareness and increasing demand for baby diapers and adult diapers in emerging economies. However, high raw material cost & availability of raw material is expected to hinder market growth.
Acrylic Acid Based segment dominated the market in 2018 and is expected to grow during the forecast period owing to the growing popularity of neutralized salts of acrylic acid, predominantly sodium and potassium polyacrylates.
Growing investments in the development of bio-based super absorbent polymers is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the globe with the largest consumption from China and Japan.
Major Market Trends
Baby Diapers to Dominate the Market
Disposable baby diapers increased in popularity with the introduction of superabsorbent polymers. Superabsorbent polymers in baby diapers absorb about 30 times their weight in urine.
The polymer starts as a powder and it swells into gel form when it encounters moisture. The moisture cannot be squeezed out of this gel, which makes it efficient for use in diapers as baby can sit on it and even sleep for hours in a wet diaper. Modern baby diapers contain polyacrylic acid.
The gel polymerization (GP) method is presently the most favored method for making the sodium polyacrylate superabsorbent polymers to use in baby diapers.
The baby diaper industry holds for around 71% share of the superabsorbent polymer industry and North America is the major market producing baby diapers. Over 90% of parents in United States use disposable diapers for their babies.
An increase in the demand for baby diapers due to increased birth rates and higher disposable incomes, and increasing awareness among the population about hygiene in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, especially in India and China are likely to increase the demand of superabsorbent polymers in those regions.
Many new intense innovations to design better diapers to meet the baby needs are being brought to the market. A baby's diaper requires about 13 grams of SAP and hence driving the SAP market.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Global Market
With over 30% of the global demand, Asia-Pacific is the most promising market for Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) materials, which is likely to dominate the market in the near future. This domination can be attributed to the growing demand from personal hygiene and agricultural activities in the region. .
China account for almost 50% of the demand for Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) in this region. Next to China, Japan holds the major demand for Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) with a share of more than 30% of the regional market.
China is one of the major consumer of personal hygiene products in the world. The demand for personal hygiene products in the country is attributed to the large number of infant population, and an increase in disposable income, which leads to increase in personal and hygiene care spending. The use of baby diapers in China started late, but it has grown with a rapid pace over recent years. The country accounts for more than one-tenth of the world's infant population.
The agricultural activities in China are also on a rise due to rapid increase in domestic and export demand for various agricultural products. Other industries like food packaging and healthcare is also growing and will boost the demand for superabsorbent polymers in China.
Overall, with the consistent growth in China and Japan, the demand for Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) is expected to increase at a faster pace in the overall region, in the coming years. The huge growth of Asia-Pacific is quite instrumental in expansion of the global Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) market.