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Water Soluble Polymers Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Raw Material (Synthetic [Polyacrylamide, PVA, Polyacrylic Acid, and Others], Natural [Guar Gum, Gelatin, Xanthan Gum, and Others], Semisynthetic [Methylcellulose, Hydroxyethylcellulose, and Others]), By Application (Food Processing, Water Treatment, Papermaking, Detergent, Petroleum, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated: July 08, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI106175



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The global water soluble polymers market size was valued at USD 38.56 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 40.66 billion in 2024 to USD 62.96 billion by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period. Asia Pacific dominated the water soluble polymers market with a market share of 43.23% in 2023.

Increasing applications in textile, paint, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, paper, pharmaceutical, construction, household detergents, and personal care are expected to drive growth in the market. The stringent environmental regulations regarding effluent discharge from manufacturing companies and environmental protection may accelerate the product demand during the forthcoming years. In addition, with growing environmental regulations regarding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions, most manufacturers are developing emulsion polymers from biological resources. For instance, in June 2021, Archroma launched a new grade in Appretan NTR range of water-based binders based on renewable natural ingredients for the textile industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the water soluble market. The product demand grew initially due to the increased use of sanitizers and disinfectants. However, disruptions in supply chains and lower industrial acitivity contributed to a decline. The market growth was hindered by economic uncertainities and fluctuations in end-user industries such as petroleum, food processing, detergent, and paper making.

Water Soluble Polymers Market Trends

New Synthesis Method Enables Development of Thermally Stable Polymer

In October 2020, researchers from the U.S. and Japan presented their research on water soluble polymers synthesized from novel amino acids that can resist high temperatures. Conventional soluble plastics heat resistance is still inadequate for modern applications that demand strong thermal stability during processing under severe circumstances. Plastics with extremely high heat stability, such as polyimides, on the other hand, have low water solubility. The focus of the research study was to demonstrate how a molecular building block that induces high water-solubility in polyimides is designed without destroying the backbone, which is an innovative approach for plastic engineering. Polyimides with exceptionally high water solubility are synthesized, and processed plastics have excellent thermomechanical and optical properties, according to the findings of the experiments. The plastics have wide applications in electronics, biomedical materials, special adhesives, and coatings and paints.

Green Innovation to Increase the Market Consumption

Several factors contribute to the significant growth potential of the market. Growing environmental concerns and legislation that favor eco-friendly and biodegradable materials are driving the demand for water soluble polymers, which provide long-term solutions. Furthermore, rising applications in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, personal care, and waste water treatment bolster the market growth.

With increasing urbanization and industrialization worldwide, the demand for water treatment solution is escalating, further boosting the market. Furthermore, advances in polymer chemistry and technology are resulting in the development of novel products with improved qualities and functions, attracting additional customers. Overall, the market’s potential lies in addressing the evolving needs for sustainable, efficient, and versatile materials across diverse industries, creating ample opportunities for market expansion.

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Water Soluble Polymers Market Growth Factors

Rising Oil & Gas Industry Shall Drive the Market Growth

Water soluble polymers are utilized extensively in the oil and gas industry, particularly upstream and midstream sectors. It is used for drilling, well completion, cementing, oil and gas well production, diverting agents, well stimulation, deposit formation control, and the treatment of oil and oil-contaminated systems. Oil firms heavily utilize hydraulic fracturing and chemical enhanced oil recovery techniques to attain maximum production capacity and cater to rising energy demand.

Hydraulic treatment is estimated to be used to stimulate 40% of the world's oil wells. Among these, most hydraulic fracturing operations utilize water-based fracturing fluid to stimulate unconventional oil and gas reservoirs. Water soluble polymers additives are utilized to improve the performance of water-based fluids in terms of proppant transport, fluid loss to the formation, and fracture dimension increase. These additives include plastic such as guar and its derivatives, xanthan gum, hydroxyethylcellulose and hydrolyzed polyacrylamide. The chemically enhanced oil recovery (CEOR) method is based on alkali surfactant, which are used to recover oil trapped in capillaries, prolonging well production life and boosting profitability.

Mud engineers have widely employed water soluble plastic to enhance and regulate the characteristics of drilling fluid to fit the demand of certain oil and gas reservoirs. The high customizability of these polymers has enabled precise control and improvement of the required fluid property. Few of the applications of these plastics in well drilling include clay anti-swelling agent, fluid-loss control agent for mud, rheology modifier, solid suspending agent and high temperature/pressure applications.


Environmental Effects of Synthetic Water Soluble Polymer May Hinder Industry Growth

Polyacrylamide with high molecular weight are commonly employed as a flocculant in wastewater treatment and a viscosity modifier in enhanced oil recovery. Excessive usage and inadequate treatment might pollute local water sources, causing harm to the region's flora and fauna. Likewise, plastics with high molecular weight are lesser harmful to the environment. However, these plastics are exposed to a very harsh mechanical, chemical, and thermal environment during the process. This factor causes high molecular weight materials to degrade and break down, altering their physical and chemical characteristics, thus hampering the overall market growth.

Water Soluble Polymers Market Segmentation Analysis

By Raw Material Analysis

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Synthetic Segment is Likely to Dominate the Market owing to its Efficient Properties

Based on raw material, the market is segmented into synthetic, natural, and semisynthetic.

The synthetic polymer segment is expected to account for major water soluble polymers market share over 2024-2032. These are substances that swell, dissolve, or disperse in water and modify the physical properties of aqueous systems in the form of emulsification, stabilization, gelation, or thickening. Natural plastics are animal and plant sources, whereas synthetic ones are derived by chemical modification of natural plastics.

Polyacrylamide Segment to Dominate Synthetic Segment Because of its Ability to Boost Water Viscosity

The synthetic segment is further bifurcated into polyacrylamide, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), polyacrylic acid, and others. The polyacrylamide segment is expected to dominate the market growth during the forecast period. Polyacrylamide increases the water viscosity and facilitates the flocculation of particles present in water. Increasing applications in food & beverage, paper making, wastewater treatment, and oil & gas industries shall boost the polyacrylamide market growth.

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a synthetic material whose water solubility depends on its degree of molecular weight, hydrolysis, and tendency to hydrogen bond in aqueous solutions. PVA has wide usage in various industries such as electronics, food packaging, paper, cosmetics, textiles, and others. Increasing demand for food packaging due to its non-toxic and biocompatible packaging solutions in the food and beverage industry shall boost the polyvinyl alcohol market growth.

Guar Gum Segment Dominated the Natural Polymer Market Owing to its Benefits in Several Industries

The natural segment is further segmented into guar gum, gelatin, xanthan gum, and others. Guar gum is likely to dominate the market during the forthcoming years. The gum consists of 85% guaran, a water soluble polysaccharide. In the food & beverage industry, guar gum is used as a food additive due to its stabilizing, thickening, and binding properties, thus providing a smooth texture. They offer stable shelf life to processed foods. Similarly, the product is widely used in pharmaceutical dosage forms, mostly as a binder in manufacturing tablets. Gaur gums are mostly preferred over synthetic plastics due to their non-toxic, cost-effectiveness, green, and easy availability.

Gelatin is extracted from animal sources, including poultry, bovine, marine, and porcine. The product is used in food and beverage applications due to its excellent foaming, gelling, and stabilizing properties. Increasing demand for functional and convenience food and growth in the pharmaceutical industry is likely to favor the gelatin market size.  

Methylcellulose Segment is Likely to Dominate the Semisynthetic Polymer owing to its Application in Pharmaceuticals

The semisynthetic segment is further fragmented into methylcellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose, and others. Methylcellulose may witness a significant CAGR during the forecast period. It finds wide application in pharmaceutical formulations as a binder and coating agent. Methylcellulose is added to mortar dry mixes in the construction industry to improve the mortar's workability, water retention, adhesion, and viscosity properties.

Hydroxyethylcellulose is a non-ionic polymer used as a thickening agent for aqueous personal care and cosmetic formulations. It is also used to efficiently thicken shower gels, shampoos, and body washes.

By Application Analysis

Water Treatment Application Segment to Account for Major Share owing to Product Demand to Treat Effluent

Based on application, the market is segmented into food processing, water treatment, papermaking, detergent, petroleum, and others.

Water treatment accounted for the major share in 2023 due to the rising demand for effluent treatment. Rising effluent generation from various manufacturing companies boosts demand for the water treatment process, thus driving market growth. Due to increasing ecological concerns in the U.S., UK, China, and Germany, strict environmental standards shall augment the market growth. Environmental regulations concerning wastewater discharge and drinking water purity may stimulate the demand for synthetic plastics.

The increasing demand for ready-to-eat food products with a longer shelf life contributes to the expansion of new manufacturing technologies. Over 90% of the natural water soluble polymers are used in food & beverage applications. Casein, gelatin, xanthan gum, gum arabic, guar gum, and others are natural polymers used in the food industry. Xanthan gum is widely used as a stabilizing and thickening agent, as it prevents the ingredients from separating. It is broadly used in gluten-free snacks as it provides a similar texture to wheat and other staples. Growing demand for the food & beverage sector and the rapid shift towards gluten-free products drive the demand for xanthan gum.

Polymers are widely used in detergent and cleaning formulations. It enhances several detergent properties such as anti-redeposition and lime soap dispersants. Additionally, the plasics are compatible with enzyme-containing liquid detergents. Rapid urbanization, rising per-capita income, changing consumer lifestyle, and improvement in living standards have augmented the demand for liquid detergent. In addition, the increasing penetration of dishwashers and washing machines and surge in household chores has resulted in the liquid detergent market growth.


water soluble polymers market Regional Analysis

Asia Pacific region is expected to be driven by rising demand from the wastewater treatment industry. The municipal and industrial wastewater treatment sector will expand due to rising environmental concerns and investments from private and governmental stakeholders to prevent ecological damage. For example, China plans to invest an extra USD 18.5 billion in rural wastewater treatment systems in their 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) after investing USD 80.7 billion in municipal wastewater treatment systems during their 13th five-year plan (2015-2020). China is a major producer and consumer of water soluble polymers. The regional demand for polymers such as polyacrylamide, a commonly used flocculating and coagulating agent in wastewater treatment, is projected to rise as the wastewater treatment industry is expected to expand during the forecast period.

North America is expected to witness significant growth due to rising demand from the oil & gas industry. The increasing demand for these materials in the oil & gas industry is mainly for drilling, well completion, production and enhanced oil recovery processes. As the U.S. continues to develop fracking technology, the enhanced oil recovery process is projected to become a significant component of oil and gas extraction operation, driving the regional market growth. Rising demand from the oil & gas industry due to the greater customizability provided by these polymers over other injection fluids utilized in enhanced oil recovery is anticipated to drive the market growth.

Europe is anticipated to witness a significant growth rate during the forecast period attributable to the rising demand from the detergent and personnel care product industry. Commercial liquid laundry detergents and liquid dishwashing products utilize water soluble polymers as additives. Rising awareness of the advantages of personnel hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase the demand for detergent products, further fueling the water soluble polymers market growth.

Latin America and Middle East & Africa are anticipated to witness sluggish growth owing to underdeveloped wastewater treatment infrastructure. However, due to their chemical inertness, water soluble polymers have the potential to be utilized in the treatment of murky water to produce clean drinking water in Africa's developing regions. Furthermore, due to the product’s diversity in the oil & gas industry, the market is projected to develop significantly in oil-producing nations such as Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

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List of Key Companies in Water Soluble Polymers Market

New Product Launches by Prominent Companies to Boost their Market Position

The market share is highly competitive, with prominent key players engaging in new product innovation, research & development, partnership, and acquisition to extend production capacities, product portfolio expansion, and create industry expansion globally.

  • In June 2021, Infinite Material Solutions launched a new water-soluble thermoplastic for 3D printed microporous parts.

  • In February 2021, Aquapak Polymers, a U.K.-based company, developed an innovative new resin, Hydropol, formulated into a standard plastic pellet. The products are considered to remove plastic pollution as they are water-soluble and biodegrade safely into mineralized natural biomass, water, and carbon dioxide.

  • In February 2021, SNF to invest USD 300 million for an additional 30,000 MT per year of powder grade Polyacrylamide (PAM) and 10,000 MT of Acrylamide production in their production facility plant in Louisiana, the U.S. The production facility is to be completed by 2022.


  • Arkema SA (France)

  • Ashland (U.S.)

  • DuPont (U.S.)

  • LG Chem (South Korea)

  • The Dow Chemical (U.S.)

  • Nitta Gelatin, NA Inc. (Japan)

  • BASF SE (Germany)

  • SNF (France)

  • Kuraray Co., Ltd. (Japan)

  • Kemira (Finland)


  • March 2022 – Kemira bolstered its position as a prominent provider of sustainable chemical solutions for water-reliant industries by launching the world’s first full scale production of its recently designed bioderived polymers. Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY) received the first volumes for trials at one of their wastewater treatment facilities.

  • September 2020 – BASF expanded its business in a water-soluble polyacrylate manufacturing unit at Ludwigshafen, Germany. The manufacturing unit will allow customers in the home and commercial cleaning sector and chemical and formulator industries to benefit from increased specialized chemical capacity.

  • May 2021 - LG Chem to begin producing bio-based polymers at its two plants. LG Chem received ISCC Plus certification on nine bio-balanced products, including SAP, PO (polyolefin), and PC (polycarbonate) compounds.


An Infographic Representation of Water Soluble Polymers Market

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The water soluble polymers market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, sources, products, and applications. Also, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. This report includes historical data & forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels. It analyzes the industry's latest market dynamics and opportunities. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors contributing to the market's growth in recent years.

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate     

CAGR of 5.5% from 2024 to 2032


Value (USD Billion); Volume (Kiloton)


By Raw Material

  • Synthetic

    • Polyacrylamide

    • PVA

    • Polyacrylic Acid

    • Others

  • Natural

    • Guar Gum

    • Gelatin

    • Xanthan Gum

    • Others

  • Semisynthetic

    • Methylcellulose

    • Hydroxyethylcellulose

    • Others

By Application

  • Food Processing

  • Water Treatment

  • Paper Making

  • Detergent

  • Petroleum

  • Others

By Region

  • North America (By Raw Material, By Application, By Country)

    • U.S. (By Application)

    • Canada (By Application)

    • Mexico (By Application)

  • Europe (By Raw Material, By Application, By Country)

    • Germany (By Application)

    • U.K. (By Application)

    • France (By Application)

    • Italy (By Application)

    • Spain (By Application)

    • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • Asia Pacific (By Raw Material, By Application, By Country)

    • China (By Application)

    • Japan (By Application)

    • India (By Application)

    • South Korea ((By Application)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • South America (By Raw Material, By Application, By Country)

    • Brazil (By Application)

    • Rest of South America (By Application)

  • The Middle East & Africa (By Raw Material, By Application, By Country)

    • Saudi Arabia (By Application)

    • South Africa (By Application)

    • Rest of the Middle East & Africa (By Application)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 38.56 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 62.96 billion by 2032.

In 2023, the Asia Pacific market size stood at USD 16.67 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 5.5%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2024-2032).

The water treatment is the leading application in the market.

The growing oil & gas industry is the key factor driving the market.

DuPont, Ashland, SNF, Arkema, and BASF SE are the major players in the global market.

Asia Pacific dominated the market share in 2023.

Strict government regulations and an increasing wastewater treatment industry are expected to drive product adoption.

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