Global nonwoven wipes market is forecast to reach $19.6 billion by 2021
(UK, 28 November 2016) The Future of Global Nonwoven Wipes to 2021 states the global nonwoven wipes market is valued at $14.8 billion and will consume 1.1 million tonnes of nonwovens in 2016. By 2021, value is forecast to grow to $19.6 billion and nonwoven consumption to grow to 1.4 million tonnes.
The sale of nonwoven wipes is driven by cost, convenience, hygiene, performance, ease of use, time savings, disposability, safety/regulation and consumer perceived aesthetics (i.e. softness or bulkiness in baby wipes). The key drivers differ for the major nonwoven wipes segments. Consumer wipes sales are driven by cost, consumer perceived aesthetics, convenience, ease of use, time savings, performance, environmental perception and disposability.
The consumer is definitely trading down, leading to above average growth in private label wipes and baby wipes, while causing below average growth in premium branded wipes and relatively expensive personal care specialty wipes. Consumers who once were willing to pay for the convenience and time savings of a facial cleaning wipe have now ‘regressed’ and gone back to a washcloth and facial cleanser. Similarly, some expensive household cleaning wipes have been replaced by a liquid cleanser and paper towels. The consumer can only afford to pay for convenience and time savings in certain necessary categories, like baby wipes or basic hard surface cleaning.
Industrial wipes have different drivers. Cost is just as important, though in the industrial segment, cost has always been a major concern. The use of wipes is part of the cost of doing business; convenience and aesthetics have a much lower effect. Safety and health advantages are major drivers for industrial wipes used in medical or food service (for example, disposable nonwoven wipes lower the risk of contamination versus re-usable laundered textiles). Cleanliness and consistent quality are also significant drivers in some applications (for example, one major use of industrial wipes is the automotive industry, where wipes are used to de-grease all bare metal automobile bodies prior to painting; here, linting or poor surface cleaning could cause the subsequent automated painting to be unacceptable, requiring extensive and expensive rework). In industrial wipes, the cost to meet requirements is the ultimate driver.
Some general trends discernible from the above Figure are:
• Total wipes sales growth is projected to slow slightly through 2021
• Baby wipes as a percentage of total wipes will decline as specialised personal and home care wipes replace them, especially in emerging markets
• Only personal care wipes are projected to grow at a higher than average rate
• Home care and industrial wipes are projected to grow at about average rates
Baby wipes continue to slow in growth, firstly because they are the most mature market segment in consumer wipes, and secondly, because of increased specialisation in wipes. An example of the latter case is the growing toddler flushable wipes, classified as a personal care wipe. Historically, baby wipes were used for this segment. Additionally, as the lowest cost consumer wipes, in times of economic stress consumers replaced specialty wipes with less costly baby wipes; despite economic slowdowns in China and Brazil, and political issues in Turkey, Iran and Russia, projections from 2016–21 are for general economic improvement. This will lead to slower growth for baby wipes. Demographics in the form of lower birth rates in the developed markets of North America and Western Europe have also contributed.
Personal care wipes are projected to be the fastest growing consumer segment over the full study period. While these wipes, especially some of the more specialised and higher priced types, had been hard hit by global economic conditions, indications are that they are growing again and consumers in emerging markets are projected to begin replacing baby wipes with more specialised personal care wipes. The recent massive addition of flushable nonwoven production capacity will add growth in flushable wipes globally as supply grows and prices drop.
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