Global super absorbent polymers market was worth USD 6.9 billion in 2014. It would reach USD 11 billion by 2022. Market volumes are estimated to increase from 2,072 kilo tons in 2014 to 3,172 kilo tons in 2022. This may be attributed to rising demand for baby diapers and female hygiene essentials, mainly in the emerging nations of the world.
Additionally, growing number of geriatrics in developed countries like the U.S., Germany and Japan is leading to high demand for adult incontinence products. Moreover, super absorbent polymers are increasingly being adopted in the agricultural sector due to their ability to retain water. Governments in regions facing persistent water shortage have introduced policies that encourage agricultural applications.
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However, prolonged exposure to such polymers is associated with health hazards. This may discourage demand and restrict market growth. Poor supply of raw materials is another concern. Despite these challenges, the future market outlook appears bullish. Technological improvements that are creating superior products are having a positive effect on growth.
The global super absorbent polymers market may be segregated on the basis of applications and regions. Main application segments are baby diapers, female hygiene products, adult incontinence products, agriculture, and others. Baby diapers, with volumes exceeding 70% of the total, ruled the market in 2014. Escalating demand for diapers in the developing world will sustain this segment’s leadership in the years to come.
Agriculture is projected to grow at the fastest rate (CAGR of 6%) from 2015 to 2022. This is owed to role of super absorbent polymers in improving soil properties and increasing crop yield.
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Others include applications in industries like oil & gas, construction, packaging, wire & cables, and wastewater management. This segment would also grow to a significant extent over the next seven years.
Key regional segments include North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Central & South America, and Middle East & Africa. Europe, with a market share of 30%, assumed regional leadership in 2014. It will continue to dominate the market in forthcoming years.
However, emerging economies of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Central & South America will make substantial contributions to future growth. Burgeoning population, rising incomes and increasing awareness in these regions will fuel demand.
Notable market players are BASF SE, Evonik Industries AG, LG Chemical Co., and Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd. Broad product portfolio and capacity expansion are the chief growth strategies followed.
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