Increasing demand for baby diapers and adult diapers in emerging economies of Asia Pacific is likely to boost demand for SAP in the region over the next six years. Additionally, rising hygiene awareness among the ever-increasing population is estimated to boost demand for superabsorbent polymers in Asia Pacific.
Demand for SAP is expected to be high in Asia Pacific due to growing end-use industries in countries such as China and India. Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the fastest growing market during the forecast period. Superabsorbent polymers are used on a large scale by the hygiene products industry in developed regions such as North America. North America is the largest market for superabsorbent polymers, followed by Europe. Europe accounted for more than 25% share of the global volume of superabsorbent polymers in 2013. Asia Pacific also accounted for approximately one-fourth of the global superabsorbent polymers market in 2013. The SAP market in Asia Pacific is expected to be fastest growing, expanding at a CAGR of 5.4% between 2014 and 2020. Rest of the world, including the Middle East and Africa, is likely to be the second-fastest growing market for superabsorbent polymers during the forecast period.
Product segment of superabsorbent polymers is divided into three types: sodium polyacrylate, polyacrylamide copolymer and others including ethylene-maleic anhydride copolymer, polyvinyl alcohol copolymers, etc. All types of superabsorbent polymers are used in various applications such as sanitary napkins, training pants and diapers. Hence, demand for these polymers is high in the market. Polyacrylamide copolymer is estimated to be the fastest growing segment, due to its non-toxic nature and high water absorbing and retaining property. The others segment accounted for 12.6% of the global SAP market in 2013.
Application segments include baby diapers, adult incontinence products, feminine hygiene products and others. Among these, baby diaper is primarily expected to boost demand for superabsorbent polymers in the market. The baby diaper industry accounted for more than 74% share of the global superabsorbent market in 2013. Baby diaper is also anticipated to be the fastest growing segment in the near future. The market for adult incontinence products was the second largest, which accounted for 224.3 kilo tons in 2013. The others segment includes applications that serve agriculture, medical and construction industries, among others.
The superabsorbent polymers market is highly concentrated, with the top six players constituting more than 90% of the market share in 2013. Key manufacturers of superabsorbent polymers include Nippon Shokubai, BASF, Bayer, Formosa Plastics Group, and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings.