Super Absorbent Polymers Market: Overview
Super absorbent polymers (SAPs) are materials that can soak up a lot of water compared to how much they weigh. Because of how they are made and what they are made of, they are used in a wide range of fields, such as medicine, civil engineering, soil science, agricultural production, and hygiene products.
They are made of long polymer chains that are loosely linked together. They are also called hydrogels. Because of how they are made, they can absorb many times their own weight in liquid. So, they are a great choice for use in disposable diapers, products for adults with incontinence, products for women’s hygiene, agriculture, and other fields.
In its most recent updated study, market research and consulting firm Persistence Market Research gives information about the main things that drive demand for super absorbent polymers. The report keeps track of sales in more than 20 high-growth markets around the world. It also looks at how COVID-19 has affected the market.
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This edition (covering the years 2021-2031) brings readers up to date on the most important changes in the market and analyses how manufacturers and other key players are responding to these changes. The study also goes into more detail about the competitive landscape, so readers can learn about the key strategies of both established players and newcomers.
Super absorbent polymers Market Dynamics:
The growth of the world’s population is a market driver for super absorbent polymers.
The World Bank Group says that by 2050, there will be 2.08 billion people in the world between the ages of 0 and 14. The personal hygiene application segment of the super absorbent polymers market has the largest share. In the area of personal hygiene, super absorbent polymers are used in diapers for babies, products for adults with incontinence, and sanitary napkins. Most of these are used in baby diapers, where super absorbent polymers are used the most.
Super absorbent polymers are also being used more because there are more older people and more people are learning about the benefits and ease of use of adult incontinence products. With the number of adults who have incontinence on the rise, governments in many countries are working together with manufacturers and medical professionals to make more products for incontinence. Government programmes in places like the US, UK, Germany, and Australia encourage the use of adult incontinence products.
Restriction: The diaper market in developed economies is already full.
Because diapers are used by so many people in developed economies, the diaper market has reached its peak. In countries like the US and Japan, where birth rates are going down and fertility rates are low, diaper sales are expected to grow slowly. Because of this, diaper sales have gone down in these places. The market for super absorbent polymers can’t grow as fast as it could because diaper sales are going down.
Opportunity: Making superabsorbent polymers from bio-based materials
In the current market, most superabsorbent polymers are not biodegradable and take up a lot of space in landfills around the world. So, investments in the research and development of superabsorbent polymers made from renewable materials are likely to open up new markets around the world. Super-absorbent polymers made from renewable materials are also a good alternative to petrochemical-based polymers like sodium polyacrylate and potassium polyacrylate, which are used in the absorbent core of disposable diapers and other personal hygiene products. For example, Ecovia Renewables Inc. (US) has given grants for research in 2017 to help make biopolymers that can be used in diapers.
Challenge: Volatile price of raw materials
The main raw material that is used to make super absorbent polymers is acrylic acid. Due to changes in the price of crude oil and a tight supply in the Asian market, acrylic acid prices have been all over the place. The price of crude oil is slowly going up again, which will change the price of acrylic acid. China makes more acrylic acid than any other country. China’s environmental laws have caused factories that make acrylic acid to run at a slower pace, which has helped close the gap between supply and demand. This has also changed the prices of materials that can soak up a lot of water. In the past few years, companies like Nippon Shokubai and Evonik have raised the prices of their super absorbent polymers. But the effect is expected to go away as new capacity is added, which will keep prices stable over the next few years.
Super absorbent polymers are safe, won’t hurt you, and won’t rust. The most common types of super absorbent polymers on the market are sodium polyacrylate, polyacrylate/polyacrylamide copolymer, and others like potassium polyacrylate, aluminium sulphate, octadecahydrate, and different inorganic clays. These polymers are used for things like personal hygiene, medicine, farming, and manufacturing.
In terms of volume, 91.4% of the market for super absorbent polymers was made up of sodium polyacrylate in 2020. The segment is mostly driven by the fact that sodium polyacrylate is being used more and more in personal hygiene products because it can absorb a lot of liquid.