The global super absorbent polymer market size was valued at USD 8.25 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 14.26 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 6.27% from 2022 to 2030. Acrylic acid is polymerized with sodium hydroxide to produce poly-acrylic acid, which is then used to create super-absorbent polymers. It is a substance with a high absorption capacity for liquids. Due to their unique cross-linked structure, superabsorbent polymers are water-swellable but not water-soluble. These polymers can absorb liquids up to one hundred times their own weight. Therefore, it is utilized in products such as diapers/nappies, incontinence items, and others, where high absorption properties are required.
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The World Bank Group projects that by 2050, the global population aged 0 to 14 will reach 2,08 billion. On the market for super absorbent polymers, the personal hygiene application holds the largest share. Super absorbent polymers are utilized in baby diapers, adult incontinence products, and sanitary napkins for the application of personal hygiene. Among these, the segment of baby diapers that utilizes the most super absorbent polymers is the largest. In addition, the expanding use of super absorbent polymers in agricultural applications is driving the market.
The increasing geriatric population and rising awareness of the benefits and convenience of adult incontinence products are driving the increased use of super absorbent polymers. As the prevalence of adult incontinence increases, governments in various nations are collaborating with manufacturers and medical professionals to prioritize the production of incontinence products. Countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia have government programs that encourage the use of adult incontinence products. Moreover, A huge elderly population in countries such as Japan, Italy, Finland, and Greece, among others, drives the market penetration of adult diapers in these nations, thereby accelerating market expansion.
Acrylic acid is the most important raw material for the production of super absorbent polymers. Due to fluctuations in crude oil prices and a limited supply in the Asian market, acrylic acid prices have been highly volatile. The price of acrylic acid will be affected by the gradual recovery of crude oil prices. Acrylic acid is produced in China at the highest rate. China's environmental regulations have caused acrylic acid manufacturing facilities to operate at a lower rate, thereby narrowing the supply-demand gap. The prices of super absorbent polymers have also been affected. In recent years, producers such as Nippon Shokubai and Evonik have increased the price of their super absorbent polymers. It is anticipated, however, that the impact will be mitigated by the addition of new capacity, which will stabilize prices over the coming years.
In the current market environment, conventional super absorbent polymers are non-biodegradable and constitute a significant portion of global landfills. Consequently, investments in the development of super absorbent polymers derived from renewable materials are anticipated to open up new market opportunities on a global scale. Alternatives to the petrochemical-based polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate and potassium polyacrylate, which are currently used in the absorbent core of disposable diapers and other personal hygiene products, are superabsorbent polymers derived from renewable materials. For example, Ecovia Renewables Inc. (US) has awarded research grants in 2017 for the development of biopolymers for diapers.
The super absorbent polymer market share can be segmented on the basis of type, application, competitors, and region.
Superabsorbent polymers are non-toxic, non-irritating, and corrosion-resistant. The most prevalent super absorbent polymers on the market are sodium polyacrylate, polyacrylate/polyacrylamide copolymer, and others, such as potassium polyacrylate and aluminum sulphate, octadecahydrate, and numerous inorganic clays. These polymers are utilized for applications including personal hygiene, medicine, agriculture, and industry.
In terms of volume, sodium polyacrylate dominated the market for super absorbent polymers in 2020, accounting for 91,4 percent of the market. The segment is primarily driven by the increased use of sodium polyacrylate in personal hygiene applications as a result of its high liquid absorbency.
During the forecast period, the market for super absorbent polymers is anticipated to be led by the segment for personal hygiene. Super absorbent polymers are primarily used as absorbents in diapers, adult incontinence products, feminine hygiene products, and similar disposable hygiene products. The most significant characteristic of these products is their ability to absorb liquids, urine, or blood. The absorbency of an absorbent pad composed of polymer and fibrous material is dependent on its polymer and fiber content. Fine particles of various acrylic acid derivatives are used to create the polymer used in the absorbent pad. These particles act as tiny sponges and are capable of retaining a substantial amount of water. Due to the increasing global population of children aged 0 to 14, diapers are the largest end-use application of super absorbent polymers. The high demand for sanitary napkins is the result of a growing female population and greater awareness of personal hygiene. In addition to baby diapers and sanitary napkins, demand for adult diapers is increasing due to the aging population.
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With more than 40 percent of the global demand, Asia-Pacific is the most promising market for Superabsorbent Polymers (SAP) materials, which will likely dominate the market in the foreseeable future. This dominance is due to the region's increasing demand for personal hygiene products and agricultural products. Greater than fifty percent of the demand for SAPs in this region can be attributed to China. Japan has the second-largest demand for SAPs in the region, with a market share of more than 20 percent. China is among the largest consumers of personal hygiene products worldwide. The demand for personal hygiene products in the country can be attributed to the high number of infants and the rise in disposable income, which leads to an increase in personal and hygiene care expenditures. In recent years, the use of diapers for infants in China has increased at a rapid rate. The country is responsible for more than one-tenth of the global infant population. Due to the rapid increase in domestic and export demand for various agricultural products, China's agricultural activities are on the rise as well. China's demand for superabsorbent polymers will be boosted by the expansion of other industries, including food packaging and healthcare.
Nippon Shokubai, Sanyo, Mitsubishi Petrochemical Company, and Sumitomo Seika are some of the major players in the superabsorbent polymers market located in Japan. In Asia, Japan is one of the major suppliers of high-quality baby diapers and adult incontinence products. In the coming years, the demand for Superabsorbent Polymers is anticipated to increase at a faster rate in the region as a whole as a result of China and Japan's consistent economic growth. Asia-tremendous Pacific's economic expansion is a significant contributor to the expansion of the global super absorbent polymers (SAP) market.
The global super absorbent polymer market is consolidated, with the top five players accounting for over 75% of the market. The leading companies are