As we recently discussed hyrdophilic polymers are able to retain about 500 times their own weight in liquid, or between 30 to 60 times their volume. For this reason, these polymers, also known as superabsorbant polymers (SAP), have many important uses. They are found in disposable diapers, medical products, and other hygiene products and the market for SAPs is quickly growing. This blog post is a guest submission from Future Marketing Insights and explains how the global demand for SAPs is expanding.
Demand for superabsorbent polymers (SAP) is expected to reach 2.2 million tonnes by the end of 2015. The disposable diaper industry accounts for the bulk of demand for SAP. Out of the 2.1 million tonnes of SAP consumed in 2014, disposable diapers accounted for nearly 1.6 million tonnes, accounting for a whopping 72% of the market share.
Rising awareness on the importance of personal hygiene is a key factor fuelling the use of disposable diapers. This trend is especially pronounced in emerging countries of Asia Pacific, where per capita income has been steadily increasing, giving consumers the ability to invest in health and well-being.
SAP Demand to Reach 667 Thousand Tonnes in APEJ by 2015 End
Asia Pacific Excluding Japan (APEJ) is the largest market for SAP, both in terms of volume and valuation. Demand for SAP in APEJ was estimated to be worth 627 thousand tonnes in 2014, and it is expected to reach nearly 667 thousand tonnes by the end of 2015. The disposable diaper industry will account for nearly 517 thousand tons of the estimated demand.
Rising research and development investment is one of the key factors supporting the demand for SAP in APEJ. Leading SAP manufacturers are focusing on improving their distribution chain to ensure continuous supply to end-use industries.
Use of SAP in agriculture, medical, and construction sectors is also anticipated to provide an impetus to the demand. These sectors are expected to create 16.5 thousand tonnes worth of demand by the end of 2015 in APEJ.
Robust Demand Expected from Europe and North America
Europe is the second largest market for SAP after APEJ. Consumption of SAP was nearly 581 thousand tonnes in 2014, and it is expected to reach 613 thousand tons by the end of 2015.
Feminine hygiene products in Europe is one of the key factors driving the demand. The U.K., Germany, and France are among the largest consumers of SAP in Europe.
Although disposable diapers account for the bulk of the demand for SAP in Europe, their increasing ageing population has presented opportunities to market adult incontinence products which account for nearly 12% of total SAP demand in Europe, compared to 8% in APEJ.
In terms of overall demand, North America is the third largest market. The demand for SAP in North America is expected to reach 493 thousand tons in 2015, up from 468 thousand tonnes in 2014.
Disposable diapers, adult incontinence, and feminine hygiene products will account for the bulk of the demand in North America, whereas applications in agriculture, construction, and medical sector are expected to account for 29% of the market share.
APEJ, Europe, and North America collectively account for nearly 80% demand of the global SAP volume. Latin America, Japan, and MEA represent the other 20%, with Latin America holding the highest share among the three regions.
Key companies in the global SAP market include Nippon Shokubhai, Evonik Industries, BASF SE, Sumitomo Seika, and LG Chemicals. Nippon Shokubhai has a strong presence in Asia Pacific, whereas Europe is the most lucrative market for Evonik Industries. All these major players are focusing on increasing their production capacity to meet the growing demand for SAP.
Author bio: Essien Jae is Lead Consultant, Chemicals Dept. at Future Market Insights (FMI), a global research and consultancy firm. The information presented in this article is based on the Super Absorbent Polymer report compiled by him.