Sustained Demand for Hygiene Products & Expanding Opportunities in Non-Hygiene Applications to Spur Growth in the Global Superabsorbent Polymers Market

The global Superabsorbent Polymers market is projected to reach 3.3 million metric tons by 2024, driven by growing applications in hygiene and non-hygiene products, and increasing global focus on bio-degradable SAP.

Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) are cross-linked acrylic homo-polymers, which possess the capability to absorb as well as retain substantial volumes of water. Superabsorbent polymers also exhibit other unique characteristics such as biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, swelling and de-swelling, and high absorption capabilities. Traditionally superabsorbent polymers have been used primarily in baby diapers, adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene products. Since SAP can efficiently retain moisture in gel form, the material is widely used in hygiene products as a medium of solidification. Driven by its superior absorbency features, the use of superabsorbent polymers is extending to other applications such as agriculture, food packaging, waste disposal, construction materials and flood control, among others.

The global market for superabsorbent polymers is being driven primarily by the material's increasing use in hygiene products such as baby disposable diapers, adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene products. Increasing awareness about health among consumers in developed and developing economies, a rapidly aging world population and steady increase in infant population are ensuring stable demand for SAP in hygiene products. In the coming years, applications in agriculture and water treatment are likely to stimulate growth in the SAP market. Growing focus of countries on improving efficiency of agricultural operations, increasing use of compact diapers, growing prominence of SAP as a cleansing agent in the water treatment industry and rising use of SAP as soil additive in the agriculture industry are also expected to favor growth in the superabsorbent polymers market. The polymers are also expected to find use in absorbent medical dressings and for controlled release drugs. Growth in the superabsorbent polymers market will also be fueled by the rapid pace of technology advances, which will allow the polymer to be used in an expanding range of applications. Specifically, biodegradable superabsorbent polymers are expected to positively impact future demand for SAP.

Asia-Pacific represents the largest market worldwide, supported by factors such as growing population, escalating demand for healthcare services and increased consumption of disposable medical absorbent products; rapidly aging population, rise in incontinence and demand for adult diapers; higher fertility rates in comparison to global average and a parallel increase in demand for disposable baby diapers; increasing levels of female education and the resulting rise in demand for feminine hygiene solutions; and growing production of superabsorbent polymers as evidenced by new plant establishments and capacity expansion initiatives. The Middle East and Africa is poised to grow at the fastest CAGR of 9.9% over the analysis period.

Major players in the market include BASF SE, Evonik Industries AG, Formosa Plastics Corporation, LG Chem Ltd., Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd., Sanyo Chemical Industries Ltd., Songwon Industrial Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Company Limited, and Yixing Danson Technology, among others.

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