Demand for wipes in the U.S. is forecast to increase 6.1% per annum to $2.2 billion in 2011, propelled by a continual spate of new product introductions and further segmentation of the market. The number and variety of wipes on the market will continue to multiply, with companies competing to rapidly introduce new products that open or create entirely new market sectors ahead of their competitors. These and other trends are presented in Wipes, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
According to the study, convenience and innovation will remain driving forces in the relatively new consumer market, with household cleaning, facial, hand and body and a number of other, small volume consumer wipes projected to register the strongest growth. Though baby wipes will remain the top selling type of wipe, demand for these products will continue to advance more slowly than most other types due to market maturity and continued replacement by newer, task-specific wipes in non-diaper applications.
Following the lead of the consumer market, new product innovations and expanding applications will drive demand for wipes in the industrial market. Manufacturing and health care will remain the largest segments of this market, with special purpose products such as clean room and surface preparation wipes, as well as personal bathing wipes, projected to see the fastest growth.
Improvements in nonwoven substrates have made possible the task-engineering of materials to be as soft as cotton for facial cleansing or as tough as heavy duty rags for machine maintenance. In addition to softness and tear resistance, other properties that can be engineered include absorbency, thickness, heat and abrasion resistance, static discharge, lint content and particle emission.
Additionally, advances for the chemicals that saturate or are deposited into wipes will derive from the increasing diversity of chemical formulations adapted to a wipes format as companies seek to take advantage of the strong consumer interest generated by these convenient, and relatively new, wipe products. Surfactants will experience the fastest gains, resulting from an ongoing shift away from solvent formulations. Surfactants offering biocidal properties will drive overall value gains due to increasing concerns
regarding bacterial contamination in industrial and consumer applications.