Around here, January is baby diaper month and this issue is chock full of information about the global diaper market. Thanks to the help of diaper consultant Carlos Richer and market tracker Euromonitor, I think it's safe to say that this issue contains the most well rounded, comprehensive information ever published in Nonwovens Industry about baby diapers, which of course is the largest market for nonwovens in the world.
In his article, "Competition Afoot in the Diaper Market" (page 32), Mr. Richer discusses the many problems facing the diaper industry, problems he maintains these manufacturers have created themselves. Unlike others who tend to sugarcoat the diaper market, praising it for high volumes and growth prospects in developed regions, Mr. Richer is candid about the problems he uncovers, blaming many producers for using outdated technology or not taking avantage of consumers willing to partake in product trials.
It is no secret that the hygiene market in general is a difficult one to be in, fraught with severe competition, pricing problems and slow growth rates in developed areas. However, diaper manufacturers must still step up to the plate when it comes to new technology in order to bring diapers to the next level. In the four or five decades since their introduction, disposable diapers have undergone many transformations and that evolution should not stop now!
That's not to say, of course, that the diaper market is without innovation. In this month's Visionary Awards competition (see page 62), two diaper products are being considered. One is Pampers' latest take on its Cruisers line of premium diapers, which now features an AbsorbAway liner, an apertured topsheet, which helps lock away wetness better than before and keep runny mess away from baby's skin. The other is a swim pant, from Tyco Healthcare, that uses a non-pulp filament core.
However, these two innovations are more exceptions than rules in the disposable diaper market which is ready to be revolutionized with some brand-spanking new technology.