Technavio’s latest report on the global superabsorbent polymer (SAP) market provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2016-2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
Swapnil Tejveer Sharma, a lead analyst from Technavio, specializing in research on plastics, polymers, and elastomers sector, says, “The global SAP market is increasingly gaining popularity in many application areas, such as agriculture, flood control, waste disposal, personal care, construction materials, and food packaging. Conventionally, SAPs were used only in baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, and adult incontinence products. This shift in trend is expected to be a major boost to the global SAP market.”
In comparison with other SAPs, such as polyacrylamide and sodium polyacrylate, sodium polyacrylate retains the moisture more efficiently in the gel form, making its use ideal in hygiene products, such as diapers and incontinence products. Apart from hygiene products, SAPs are used for agricultural applications that improve soil's water retention capacities, and positively affect crop yield in agricultural lands. Industry-grade sodium polyacrylate is also used in sandbags, waterproof tape, and ointments.
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The top four emerging trends driving the global SAP market according to Technavio chemicals and materials research analysts are:
• Rise in demand for bio-based polymers
• Instances of early puberty among females
• Government initiative: Improvement of women’s health
• Increasing use of SAP in other applications
Rise in demand for bio-based polymers
Well-developed self-sufficient integrated bio-refineries are the only way forward for a sustainable future. Efficient use of biomass is looking toward a positive future that is practically anticipated to build a bio-based economy.
“Informed consumers insist on eco-friendly products. This trend is increasingly gaining popularity as sustainable alternatives. Bioproduction of feedstocks, such as propylene, and acrylic acid, will be the most likely viable option in the future,” according to Swapnil.
Instances of early puberty among females
Apart from factors, such as obesity and hormonal fluctuations, early menarche is also associated with various environmental and hereditary factors. The process starts early and progresses through growth spurts and bone maturation. Pre-adolescent weight gain is also attributed to lowering the age for menarche.
This appalling scenario has resulted in numerous females to start on feminine hygiene products at an age earlier than a decade ago. The range of age group using feminine hygiene products has increased and is aiding the global SAP market in the feminine hygiene products sector.
Government initiative: Improvement of women’s health
A large majority of the female population in developing countries, still do not have access to basic healthcare facilities and live in households that lack toilets. Public health challenges are posed in the absence of proper sanitation that greatly affects the general health of women.
Government bodies in association with many non-governmental organizations are trying to reach out to women on the importance of feminine hygiene products, which helps prevent reproductive tract and urinary tract infections. Many self-governing and semi-funded organizations are providing sustainable solutions to improve women’s health in rural parts of the country.
Increasing use of SAP in agricultural sector
In the agriculture sector, SAPs help improve the quality of soil, preserve water, and resist drought, thus ensuring a better environment for seeds to sprout and develop. They are pollution-free and have superior water absorbing and water preserving abilities. SAPs can be applied along with fertilizers, pesticides, microelements, eradication powder, and other related products. They help in the slow release of these products, thereby increasing the effects of fertilization and pesticides, protecting underground water, and decreasing the loss of soil nutrients. SAPs also reduce water depletion, water runoff, and soil erosion.
The key vendors are as follows:
• Evonik Industries
• LG Chem
• Nippon Shokubai
• Sanyo Chemical Industries
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