The volatility of raw material prices highly impact on the competitive landscape of the global superabsorbent polymer market. Leading producers, namely Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd., Evonik Industries, Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co. Ltd., LG Chem Ltd., Songwon Industrial Co. Ltd., and BASF SE have invested heavily in the production of raw materials used for these polymers in order to minimize their impact.
Looking forward, the emergence of bio-based superabsorbent polymers has presented a lucrative opportunity for the key manufacturers, says Transparency Market Research. The eco-friendly characteristic of these polymers is likely to boost its application in a number of industries such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and medical and healthcare, leading to their increased sales across the world.
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Water Retaining Property of Superabsorbent Polymers Boosts their Application in Agriculture
The alarming rise in the global population has created a huge need for food. Hi-tech farming methods are yet to reach underdeveloped and emerging economies and the rapid depletion of arable land has already put farmers in a tight situation. On the top of it, the increase in global warming has been affecting the rains severely, causing draught-like situations in many parts of the world.
“As superabsorbent polymers, also known as slush powder, can absorb huge amounts of liquid, particularly water, their application in farming, in order to retain soil water, is increasing significantly,” says an analysts at TMR. Their adoption in agriculture has also been fueled by another significant property of them that is to enable crops to survive through the depletion of water in mountains, deserts, as well as dry lands up to 50% of the required amount.
The application of superabsorbent polymers will remain growing in agriculture over the next few years, anticipates TMR. The high costs of raw materials, however, may limit the adoption of these polymers to some extent in the coming years.
On the other hand, the advent of bio-based polymers, stimulated by the increasing focus of consumers on sustainability and their growing awareness pertaining to environment, is anticipated to provide an opportunity-rich market for players. Their potential applications in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and medical and healthcare are also expected to boost their demand in the coming years.
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North America Emerged as Biggest Consumer of Superabsorbent Polymers Used for Agriculture
According to TMR, the global opportunity in superabsorbent polymers used for agriculture is expanding at a healthy CAGR of 6.80% during the period from 2015 to 2023. In 2014, it stood at US$184.7 mn and is projected to worth US$327.4 mn by the end of forecast period. In terms of volume, the application of superabsorbent polymers in agricultural practices is registering a CAGR of 5.90% over the forecast period.
Currently, North America is the leading consumer of superabsorbent polymers used for agriculture across the world. In 2014, it accounted for a share of nearly 30% in the global consumption of these polymers.