While it hasn’t seen the blockbuster products (i.e. Swiffer) found in the household cleaning market, the personal care wipes market has reported steady growth during the past decade on a series of task-specific applications that make consumers’ personal grooming easier. In fact, as household wipes growth has stagnated, personal care wipes showed increases of 8% in 2008, outperforming the total wipes market, which grew only 7% as well as household wipes, which grew 4%, according to international market tracker Euromonitor.
Of course, the personal care wipes market continues to be dominated by the baby wipes market and in terms of value growth that category will continue to outperform the sector as a whole for the foreseeable future. The entire wipes market was largely founded on the creation of baby wipes and for a long time many tasks now performed by new wipe products were done with baby wipes.
Even more importantly, baby wipes are considered a necessity product by many and there are very few viable substitute products on the market. Because of their real benefits, baby wipes have also been quicker to penetrate emerging markets, bringing more sustainable growth.
According to Euromonitor data, the manufacturers that perform best in baby wipes are those that have an established link to a diapers brand: Procter & Gamble's Pampers and Kimberly-Clark's Huggies.
Another major player, Johnson & Johnson, is active in a range of associated baby products despite not being present in the nappies/diapers sector. Baby wipes sector does, however, have a high private label share due to its appeal to manufacturers looking to shift vast volumes at low prices.
Innovation from the major players focused on adding value. After aligning its baby wipes with its diaper range in 2007, Procter & Gamble concentrated on improving comfort, upgrading its Sensitive Wipes product to add a touch of cotton. Kimberly-Clark focused on similar innovations and added a new wipe to its U.S. Huggies range which includes a shea butter moisturizer. The shea butter wipes also have an improved cloth-like texture that further differentiates the product from private label lines. P&G and K-C have also both recently looked to innovate in child-specific moist toilet wipes, with the early gains made by the Pampers Kandoo brand and Kimberly-Clark's
Andrex Kids demonstrating there may be further potential in the category.
Beyond the baby and kids category, K-C is expanding upon success in the flushable wipes category with the introduction of the Cottonelle EasyReach Hanger to give users of its Cottonelle Flushable moist wipes a more convenient place to keep the products.
“In partnership with Command Strips from 3M, we’ve made are easy for consumers to remember to use flushable moist wipes every day,” said Courtney De Salvatore, Cottonelle brand manager. “Even though many consumers already understand the benefits of moisture when it comes to clean, it's easy to forget to make flushable moist wipes a part of their everyday personal care routine.
“The new Cottonelle EasyReach Hanger will “create a home” for flushable moist wipes in the bathroom to keep the product top of mind with consumers,” she added.
Niche Products Drive Innovation
While baby wipes dominate in size, there are a number of smaller applications bringing nonwoven wipes into new areas. Ranging from self tanners to makeup removers to deodorizers to exfoliating wipes, these new products are helping personal care manufacturers expand their product lines and make their customers’ lives easier.
Following its success in the baby wipes business, Johnson & Johnson has added a number of wipes products to its skin care brands Neutrogena and Aveeno during the past couple of years. The latest of these introductions is Neutrogena Cleansing towelettes which work with the brand’s new Hydrating Eye Makeup Remover.
Launched in February, these two no-rinse products remove makeup with the added benefit of hydration to smooth the look of puffiness and dry lines. Both formulas cleanse and condition skin in one easy step with no water, soap or moisturizer needed.
The towelettes cleanse and hydrate skin with just one easy wipe of the face. The pre-moistened, ultra-soft cloths cleanse deeply into pores, gently clearing away dirt, oil, pollutants and makeup. A unique blend of emollients, glycerine and skin-soothing cucumber and aloe extracts leave skin feeling soft and supple.
Meanwhile, international beauty company L’Oreal has also made wipes a part of two of its latest line launches. Within its Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure advanced skincare line, the company is offering detoxifying wet cleansing towelettes. These products feature vitamin E blended with grape extract, vitamin B5 to guard against moisture-stripping and green leaf extract. In its Maybelline brand, the company has launched Expert Eye-Makeup Remover towelettes designed to wash off wearable eye makeup. These wipes gently remove residue from even the toughest eye makeup with an oil-free, fresh and clean formula and are designed for all skin types.
Comodynes, a medium-sized company based in Barcelona, Spain, has achieved quiet success with a variety of cosmetic wipes products since it launched the original makeup remover wipe in 1997.
“Basically, it’s just the convenience of the product. You don’t need bottles or running water. You can have them anywhere, anytime. They are just so easy and portable,” said Alla Dorodny, U.S. distributor for Comodynes.
Also including self tanners and exfoliators, Comodynes wipes are saturated with a moisturizer and a toner so the customer gets three benefits in one product, Ms. Dorodny added.
Self tanners have particularly benefited from their marriage with wipes because it allows a more uniform result. Tests have shown the towelettes eliminate the streaky results found with a sprayer.
Meanwhile, the exfoliating wipe has one grainy surface specifically developed to slough off dead skin, which happens to be recommended prior to self tanning.
In terms of geographical presence, cosmetic wipes are the most popular in Western Europe, with the category reaching $677 million in 2008, the largest wipes category in any region after baby wipes. Facial cleansing wipes tend to be bought off the back of established cosmetics brands, softening the threat of private label. However, as with deodorant wipes, they suffer from direct competition from products in more traditional formats. In order to drive further growth, manufacturers must offer value-added products, for example varying the surface of the wipes to provide exfoliating properties.
While baby wipes are the largest and cosmetic applications are the most dynamic, feminine hygiene wipes are predicted to see the highest average annual growth globally to 2013, offering plenty of potential for manufacturers. Latin America and the Middle East are predicted to post 28% and 24% average annual growth respectively, albeit from a relatively small base. However, the largest region for feminine hygiene wipes, Western Europe, is also predicted to continue to grow at a strong 5% CAGR, benefiting from increased acceptance of the product.
Manufacturers of sanitary protection products have been increasingly expanding their ranges to include wipes, for example Procter & Gamble added the Always Freshelle wipe to its Always range of sanitary products, and Lil-Lets included a wipe in its Harmony range of products during 2008. Furthermore, OTC manufacturers have also begun to extend into feminine hygiene wipes and Canesten Care and Vagisil both have wipes in their ranges targeted at daily use. Due to the intimate nature of the product, it is likely that private label alternatives will be slow to gain ground as consumers are expected to stick to brands they trust that have an established link with either the sanitary or feminine hygiene sectors, offering plenty of potential for major manufacturers.