These days, it seems, the state of the wipes market depends on who you ask. Some will say that growth has slowed, innovation is stagnant and pricing levels are depressing; while others will describe a market ripe with new product introductions and plenty of room for growth. In this “tale of two markets,” there are companies shutting down capacity while others are making plans for new lines.
There’s no question wipes have found a permanent place in the lives of consumers. Once considered convenience items, wipes have become necessities for many tasks. From baby care to household cleaning to personal grooming, many consumers simply won’t stop buying their wipes, despite economic woes. And, while the wipes market hasn’t hit a homerun—as it did with blockbuster new categories such as electrostatic floor cleaners and kid wipes—in a while, many will argue the next great wipe market is right around the corner.
In this edition, associate editor Sandra Levy takes a look at new technologies for wipes. It seems enough wipes suppliers are bullish enough about the market to focus on new product development. From technology that adds new features to wipes—flushable, green, printed, embosses—to ways to make wipes more cost effective, there is certainly no shortage ways to differentiate wipes on the marketplace.
Speaking of differentiation, HPCW also takes a look at new demographics of wipes consumers. Contributing editor and wipes industry consultant Susan Stansbury discusses how wipes manufacturers are targeting specific populations—such as women, children and the elderly—in developing new products. While this kind of niche targeting may not lead to the industry’s next blockbuster, it certainly can’t hurt marketers’ efforts to grow their sales as they await better economic times.