Why Wipes Won't Go Away

February 10, 2006

According to INDA's recent analysis of wipes, household wipes now comprise the majority of North American disposable wipes sales. Experts say that the success of this market has largely been caused by the widespread popularity of electrostatic and wet floor cleaning systems such as Swiffer and Pledge Grab-It. I can see why.

People who read Nonwovens Industry regularly have already heard me wax poetic on the joys of Swiffer. Nearly a day goes by that I don't use some sort of Swiffer product, whether it's a duster, my Sweeper vac or the original Sweeper, and I don't think I'm alone in this obsession.

The household wipes market has done a really good job of simplifying consumers' lives by making cleaning easier or, as one executive put it, taking the "yuck" out of their lives.

People today are busier than ever before, in many cases juggling the demands of dual careers, family and taking care of their homes. They still want their homes clean, they just don't have a lot of time to devote to the task. Even though wipes may be a more expensive way to clean, they will happily shell out those extra dollars to improve the quality of their lives. This, of course, has created quite a boon for  nonwovens.

This month, we report on the household cleaning wipes market (see page 34), which INDA projects to be worth $520 million in North America, representing nearly half of the total wipes category. While growth has slowed in this market, household cleaning companies continue to focus research efforts on developing new products in an effort to boost sales.

Also, this month, we look at  the global market for spunmelt nonwovens, a segment that has seen tremendous new investment in recent months. Turn to page 28 to find out what's creating so much interest in this diverse, and extremely cost-efficient, technology segment.

And, on page 48, associate editor Ellen Wuagneux provides our annual update on quality control equipment, which is becoming more important to nonwovens manufacturers as they aim to provide their customers with high quality, consistent products.

As always, we appreciate your comments.

Karen Bitz McIntyre

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