Water Soluble Polymer Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The market is segmented by Type (Polyacrylamide, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Guar Gum, Gelatin, Xanthan Gum, Polyacrylic Acid, Polyethylene Glycol, and Other Types), End-user Industry (Water Treatment, Food and Beverage, Personal Care and Hygiene, Oil and Gas, Pulp and Paper, Pharmaceutical, and Other End-user Industries), and Geography (Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, South America and Middle-East and Africa).

Market Snapshot

Study Period:

2016 - 2026

Base Year:


Fastest Growing Market:

Asia Pacific

Largest Market:

Asia Pacific


4 %

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Market Overview

The water soluble polymer market is expected to register a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period. The factors driving the growth of the market studied are the growing shale gas industry in North America and the water treatment industry in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • On the flip side, other than the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the various end-user industries’ growth and supply chain disruptions, stringent government regulations on polymer usage will hinder the growth of the market studied.
  • Asia-Pacific region dominated the global market and is projected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
  • Increasing demand for bio-based acrylamide is likely to act as opportunities in the future.

Scope of the Report

The water soluble polymer market includes:  

Polyvinyl Alcohol
Guar Gum
Xanthan Gum
Polyacrylic Acid
Polyethylene Glycol
Other Types (Cellulose Ethers, Pectin, and Starch)
End-user Industry
Water Treatment
Food and Beverage
Personal Care and Hygiene
Oil and Gas
Pulp and Paper
Other End-user Industries
South Korea
Rest of Asia-Pacific
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
South America
Rest of South America
Middle-East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Rest of Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Growing Demand from the Water Treatment Industry

  • Water treatment is a process where impurities, such as undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases, are removed from contaminated water. The goal of this process is to produce water fit for a specific purpose. Water treatment serves a wide range of purposes, which includes meeting requirements for agricultural, medical, household, pharmacological, chemical, and industrial applications.
  • Flocculants are substances that promote the clumping of destabilized particles, which are obtained after being treated with coagulants. The coagulants neutralize the charge on colloidal particles responsible for keeping them apart. These agents promote flocculation by causing colloids and other suspended particles, to aggregate and drop out of the liquid.
  • Water-soluble polymer flocculants are important constituents of solid-liquid separation units, for the treatment of process‐affected effluents. They are long-chain water-soluble polymers used to separate non‐settling fine solids from aqueous suspensions.
  • Water-soluble polymers are used in mineral processing, industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, oil sands tailings dewatering, paper making, and biotechnology. These flocculants focused on advances in synthesis, characterization, and performance assessment in solid-liquid separation in mineral processing, oil sands tailings, and wastewater treatment.
  • Polyacrylamide is the most widely used water-soluble non-ionic flocculant, as it is highly water-soluble, cost‐effective, and very reactive.
  • Polymer adsorption can occur through hydrogen bonding among polyacrylamide on silica silanol groups, electrostatic interaction among cationic polymers on negatively charged sludge, hydrophobic interaction between polyvinyl alcohol on silver iodide, and ion bridging between anionic polyacrylamide on negatively charged clays with the help of divalent calcium ion.
  • Flocculants are used in various water treatment processes in numerous industries, such as chemical processing, food and beverage, oil and gas, and power generation, among others. Municipal water treatment forms the largest market for flocculants. Owing to the huge demand from growing chemical industries in the developing economies, the APAC market is expected to thrive over the next few years. Owing to developments in the oil and gas industry, North America is expected to grow at a moderate rate, trailing Asia-Pacific.

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China to Dominate the Asia-Pacific Market

  • China is the world's largest economy in terms of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), however, it is the second-largest economy when calculated in terms of nominal GDP. The country’s growth has been slowing in the past few years, and it was estimated to have recorded a 6% GDP growth in 2019, which is the slowest rate in the country's economic history since 1990. This growth rate is moderating due to the maturing of the Chinese economy, combined with tensions over US-China trade disputes.
  • Although China is the first country affected by the COVID-19 and its related lockdown. It is the first country that has come out of the lockdowns and is starting its long journey toward normalcy. However, as a major chunk of the Chinese economy is linked to foreign exports, where demand is still low, it may negatively affect the Chinese industry in the near future.
  • Water treatment is one of the largest application industry for water-soluble polymers. China’s water treatment industry has been consistently growing due to the government’s focus on the availability of freshwater and water pollution( wastewater treatment). As of 2018, there are around 1,944 municipal wastewater treatment plants across China’s city/urban regions and around 1,599 municipal wastewater treatment plants across China’s rural counties, accounting for daily processing capacities of 140 and 29 million cubic meters, respectively.
  • Moreover, under the 13th Five-year plan, the country is aiming to spend more than RMB 559 billion on its water treatment industry, which is about 0.75 percent of the country’s total GDP. This is expected to increase the demand for the water-soluble polymers from this industry over the forecast period.
  • Another end-user of the food and beverage industry in China is also growing at a rapid pace. China accounts for almost one-fourth of the total global population, and the country hosts one of the most rapidly developing consumer markets in the world, which provides a tremendous boost to the food and beverage industry. In 2019, the china food and beverage industry revenue is estimated to be about USD 22.7 billion, an increase of 22.5%, when compared to 2018.
  • China has one of the largest pulp and paper industry in the world. China is one of the top three producers of paper in the world. However, owing to environmental concerns, the country has announced to ban all wastepaper imports in 2020 and is estimated to have eliminated more than 45 million metric ton of backward paper capacity during the last seven years. The new investment into the pulp and paper industry in the country is also slowing due to strict regulatory controls and low availability of raw materials. This is expected to negatively impact the demand growth for the water-soluble polymers in the country during the forecast period.
  • Recently, Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturers have become focused on the development and production of finished pharmaceutical products, primarily to serve the local market. However, the pharmaceutical industry is poised for high growth during the forecast period, with the government push with policy reforms in line with Made in China 2025 industrial plan. Overall the demand growth for the water-soluble polymers in the country is expected to be high over the forecast period

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Competitive Landscape

The global water-soluble polymer market is fragmented in nature, with the presence of many players accounting for a less share in the market. Some of the major players of the market studied include SNF Group, Ashland, DuPont, CP Kelco US Inc., and Arkema Group, among others.

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Table Of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Drivers

      1. 4.1.1 Growing Shale Gas Industry in North America

      2. 4.1.2 Growing Water Treatment Industry in Asia-Pacific

    2. 4.2 Restraints

      1. 4.2.1 Government Regulations on Polymer Usage

      2. 4.2.2 Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

    3. 4.3 Industry Value-Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Degree of Competition


    1. 5.1 Type

      1. 5.1.1 Polyacrylamide

      2. 5.1.2 Polyvinyl Alcohol

      3. 5.1.3 Guar Gum

      4. 5.1.4 Gelatin

      5. 5.1.5 Xanthan Gum

      6. 5.1.6 Polyacrylic Acid

      7. 5.1.7 Polyethylene Glycol

      8. 5.1.8 Other Types (Cellulose Ethers, Pectin, and Starch)

    2. 5.2 End-user Industry

      1. 5.2.1 Water Treatment

      2. 5.2.2 Food and Beverage

      3. 5.2.3 Personal Care and Hygiene

      4. 5.2.4 Oil and Gas

      5. 5.2.5 Pulp and Paper

      6. 5.2.6 Pharmaceutical

      7. 5.2.7 Other End-user Industries

    3. 5.3 Geography

      1. 5.3.1 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. India

        3. Japan

        4. South Korea

        5. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      2. 5.3.2 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

        3. Mexico

      3. 5.3.3 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. United Kingdom

        3. France

        4. Italy

        5. Rest of Europe

      4. 5.3.4 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Argentina

        3. Rest of South America

      5. 5.3.5 Middle-East and Africa

        1. Saudi Arabia

        2. South Africa

        3. Rest of Middle-East and Africa


    1. 6.1 Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements

    2. 6.2 Market Ranking Analysis

    3. 6.3 Strategies Adopted by Leading Players

    4. 6.4 Company Profiles

      1. 6.4.1 Ashland

      2. 6.4.2 Arkema

      3. 6.4.3 BASF SE

      4. 6.4.4 CP Kelco US Inc.

      5. 6.4.5 DuPont

      6. 6.4.6 Gantrade Corporation

      7. 6.4.7 Kemira

      8. 6.4.8 Kuraray Co. Ltd

      9. 6.4.9 Merck KGaA

      10. 6.4.10 Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

      11. 6.4.11 Nouryon

      12. 6.4.12 Polysciences Inc.

      13. 6.4.13 SNF Group

      14. 6.4.14 Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Company

  7. *List Not Exhaustive

    1. 7.1 Increasing Demand for Bio-based Acrylamide

    2. 7.2 Growing Application in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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