Global demand for super absorbent polymers (SAP) is set to reach 2.37 Mn tonnes by 2016, up from 2.1 Mn tonnes in 2014. Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd., BASF SE, and Evonik Industries are the dominant players in the global super absorbent polymer market, with Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd. holding the largest revenue share in 2014. These findings are according to a research report, titled, “Super Absorbent Polymer Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2020” by market research firm Future Market Insights (FMI).
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Key Players Focusing on Innovation to Gain Competitive Edge
Key stakeholders in the super absorbent polymer market are bolstering their research and development capabilities to launch innovative products in the market. For example, in November 2014, Sumitomo Seika launched Aqua Keep HP, a high-function SAP for making thin baby- and adult-diapers. BASE SE also made an announcement in November 2014 that it will invest nearly US$ 550 Mn in pioneering superabsorbent technology. Other key players including Evonik Industries and Nippon Shokubai are focusing on increasing SAP production.
Disposable Diapers Largest Application Segment for Super Absorbent Polymers
Majority of the global demand for super absorbent polymers is concentrated in three industries – disposable diapers, adult incontinence products, and female hygiene products.
Disposable diapers is the largest end-use application segment for super absorbent polymers, accounting for nearly one-thirds of overall demand. FMI estimates demand from disposable diapers industry to reach 1.79 Mn tonnes in 2016, up from 1.59 Mn tonnes in 2014. In terms of revenues, disposable diapers segment is expected to account for US$ 5.81 Bn in 2016.
Sodium polyacrylate co-polymers Account for Highest Demand
Sodium polyacrylate-based super absorbent polymers are preferred over poly acrylamide, ethylene-maleic anhydride, and polyvinyl alcohol co-polymers. Of the total 2.24 Mn tonnes of super absorbent polymers consumed in 2015, sodium polyacrylate co-polymers accounted for 1.45 Mn tonnes. FMI expects demand for poly acrylamide co-polymers to witness an increase in the future owing to their high water retention and non-toxic properties.
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Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Most Lucrative Region
Demand for super absorbent polymers was highest in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ), followed by Europe and North America.
Demand for super absorbent polymers in APEJ is anticipated to reach 705 Mn tonnes by 2016, up from 666 Mn tonnes in 2015. Rising awareness levels and increase in purchasing power are the macro-economic factors driving the super absorbent polymers market in APEJ.
Demand for super absorbent polymers in Europe — the second largest market for super absorbent polymers globally – is expected to reach 645 Mn tonnes in 2016. By 2020, the Europe super absorbent polymer market is anticipated to reach US$ 2.6 Bn in revenues.
The North America super absorbent polymers market was valued at 493.6 Mn tonnes in terms of volume in 2015. FMI estimates this to increase to 518 Mn tonnes by 2016. Demand for disposable diapers and other incontinence products has remained constant in North America in the past, owing to which demand for super absorbent polymers is expected to grow at a steady rate. By 2020, demand for super absorbent polymers is expected to reach 612 Mn tonnes in North America.
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