Welcome to 2014!

January 6, 2014

We kick-off the New Year with our annual look at market and technology trends in baby diapers. Changing consumer dynamics and emerging markets have contributed significantly to growth in all hygiene sectors in general. Be it female hygiene products, baby diapers or adult diapers, there is a growing trend in their global demand, especially in high growth markets. Asia Pacific and Latin America are leading the pack. Factors such as rising disposable income and changing consumer preferences have accelerated the growth of the baby diapers market in the developing markets of Asia Pacific as well as BRICS nations and MEA (Middle East & Africa).

Growth in the global baby diapers market is being driven by rising birth rates and increased hygiene awareness across developing economies. The market is expected to rise by nearly 47% from 2011 and reach a market size worth $52.2 billion in 2017, according to Transparency Market Research. The baby diaper market is estimated at $35.6 billion in 2011, and expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2011 to 2017. The $16.6 billion rise is largely attributed to fast growth exhibited by Asia Pacific and Latin America. The Asia Pacific baby diaper market is growing the fastest among all regions, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.4% from 2011 to 2017.

EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) holds the largest market share at 33% and is closely followed by Asia Pacific, which accounts for 30% of the global baby diaper market. The North American market due to market saturation and intense competition is growing at a slower rate as compared to other regions. A similar situation is observed in Western regions of Europe.

In saturated markets in the western world, diaper makers are locked in intense competition to differentiate their products and one way has been to make diapers thinner. In her coverage, Nonwovens Industry’s senior editor, Karen McIntyre, says the move toward a thinner diaper has several advantages. “Not only are they more discrete and comfortable to wear, they take up less shelf space and are less expensive to transport,” she says.

Another notable trend in the baby diaper sphere is the growing strength of the private labelers versus their big brand counterparts. For instance, during the past two years, paper maker Domtar has been growing its presence in adult and baby diaper markets by acquiring a number baby and adult diaper makers. First in July Domtar acquired privately held Associated Hygienic Products (AHP), one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of store brand infant diapers in the U.S., from Disposable Soft Goods (DSG) International for $272 million. Domtar followed the AHP deal with the acquisition of Laboratorios Indas, a Spanish maker of adult and baby diapers.

In addition to Ms. McIntyre’s coverage, diaper industry expert Pricie Hanna, managing partner of Price Hanna Consultants, a management consulting firm that specializes in nonwoven and hygiene absorbent products, discusses the sophisticated marketing programs and aggressive business expansion strategies that diaper makers have undertaken and the impact this has had on their suppliers’ businesses.

Next on tap is Carlos Richer, principal at Richer Investment and a diaper industry consultant with 28 years experience in diaper manufacturing. In his article, Mr. Richer addresses technical challenges and solutions when it comes to measuring WVTR, or water vapor transmission rate.

So, from recent key happenings, to market trends to technical issues, along with several directories listing key players in the market, this issue is chock full of baby diaper information. Hope you find it useful.

Tim Wright