Super Absorbent Polymers Market Dynamics
Consumption of super absorbent polymers (SAP) witnessed Y-o-Y growth of around 6% in 2015 and is estimated to increase to 5.7% in 2016. Factors such as extensive usage in hygiene applications and established supply chain network are expected to provide steady growth for the market. Other market factors supporting increasing demand are increasing middle income population, growing consumer awareness about hygiene and rapid urbanization in developing countries such as China and India. Acrylic acid is the main raw material for production of SAP. Long-distance trade and logistics issues associated with acrylic acid are influencing suppliers/manufacturers to forward integrate and venture into super absorbent polymer manufacturing.
Super Absorbent Polymers: Regional Outlook
Increasing consumer awareness about hygiene particularly in developing region is a prominent factor driving growth of the market. As of 2014, consumption of SAP in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) stood at 627.4 thousand tonnes, followed by Europe and North America, respectively. The regions are expected to retain their positions in the market through 2020. Developing regions including APEJ, Latin America and Middle East and Africa have been projected to collectively represent incremental $ opportunity of around US$ 830 Mn between 2014 and 2020, which is around 43% of the overall incremental $ opportunity of the SAP market. As of 2014, the global average price per ton varied between US$2,800 and US$ 3,500, mainly dependent upon supply and demand dynamics in regional and international markets.
Super Absorbent Polymers: Applications and Material Type
In terms of application of SAP in various products, disposable baby diapers amongst adult incontinence products, feminine hygiene products and other products were the major segments, collectively accounting for around 75% share in terms of volume, as of 2014. Similar market dynamics are anticipated to prevail during the forecast period. On the basis of material type, sodium polyacrylate segment accounts for significant share in the global market, followed by poly acrylamide co-polymers and other super absorbent polymers segments. Consumption of sodium polyacrylate to witness increase of around 40 basis points over the forecast period, translating into increased consumption of 422.2 thousand tonnes between 2015 and 2020.
Super Absorbent Polymers: Competition Developments
As of 2014, Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd. was the largest player in the market, accounting for around 20% volume share, followed by BASF SE, Sumitomo, and Evonik, respectively. The super absorbent polymers market is consolidated with approximately 70% market captured by top five global players. Similar trend is projected to continue over the forecast period. Most established players are making significant investments in production facility expansion to cater to increasing demand for SAP across the globe. Certain companies formed joint ventures for co-development of products in order to enhance their supply capability. Also, established players are launching various SAP grades under specific brand names in order to differentiate their products and increase brand visibility in the market. Noted developments in the global super absorbent polymers market include investment announcement by Nippon Shokubai for SAP production capacity expansion by 2018 and development of AQUA KEEP HP (a SAP product) by Sumitomo in November 2014.
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