Kimberly-Clark, the company who can be credited with bringing adult incontinence mainstream with its two major brands—Poise for light incontinence and Depend for more severe cases, continues to be the market leader. Just like the company was the first to bring these products to the consumer market, it continues to offer innovative solutions for all types of incontinence sufferers.
The difference between three decades ago and today, however, is that K-C has plenty of company in the adult incontinence marketplace, which has become a strategic growth area for newcomers and established companies alike.
The biggest of these, of course, is Procter & Gamble, who recently returned to the market after a near two-decade hiatus. Over the summer, the packaged goods giant announced it would re-enter the adult incontinence market with the launch of Always Discreet, a 26-SKU line featuring a range of products for light incontinence sufferers. According to P&G executives, a few months after launch, Always Discreet is exceeding expectations and will soon roll out into new European countries.
Svetlana Udusliviaia of Euromonitor points out on page 44 that P&G’s decision to use Always in adult incontinence was risky because it could have made consumers associate its very popular feminine hygiene brand with an older consumer. That fact that this didn’t happen—in fact, consumers were happy to seek relief from a brand they knew and trusted—proves that adult incontinence is no longer considered “an old lady’s problem,” and is instead another one of life’s problems that can be managed and solved with the right products.
And, consumer product companies, both small and large, are working hard to come up with a product for every condition. Butterfly Health Inc., a California company with executives formerly at Procter & Gamble, has seen success with its pads for light accidental bowel leakage and SOSecure has developed a swim brief for adults who don’t want a little leakage to keep them from a day at the beach or the pool. Like in all markets, some of these products will do well and some will not but the winner will be the adult incontinence sufferer who can continue to have a carefree and active lifestyle.
This month, we cover many, many new products appearing in the adult incontinence market. On page 34, we report on many innovations that use nonwovens and absorbent technology. These products help incontinence sufferers by managing and detecting leaks, allowing for discretion and, hopefully comfort. Beyond absorbents, there are a number of new products cropping up that manage leaks before they start. Tom Wilson, of the Caregiver Partnership, reports on how alternative products like pessaries—including one being test marketed currently by Kimberly-Clark—could impact the adult incontinence market in the future on page 48.
As always, we appreciate your comments.
Karen McIntyre, editor