Following an ongoing trend among consumer markets, personal care wipes are undergoing a significant paradigm shift in their retail landscape, according to a recent study by Smithers, The Future of Personal Care Wipes in a Changing Retail Landscape to 2024.
The simplest characterization is the ongoing shift from ‘brick and mortar’ selling to e-commerce. Research shows that online sales of consumer products are growing four times as fast as offline sales, with growth highest in Asia.
Personal care wipes, which includes the significant baby wipe segment, is the largest wipes segment using nonwovens. In 2019, 763,700 tons, equal to nearly 16.3 billion square meters of nonwovens and worth $9.3 billion in sales, were used in the nonwovens personal care wipes worldwide.
Volume demand will rise at a CAGR of 5.6%, breaking through the 1 million ton mark in 2024. The total surface area of nonwovens will be just over 23 billion square meters – equivalent to a CAGR of 7.2%.
Value growth in the market will reduce slightly from the 6.5% witnessed between the previous five-year period, but growth at 6.1% still presents compelling new market opportunities between 2019 and 2024. The most rapidly expanding segment is face (sheet) masks, followed by adult moist tissue and toddler care wipes. In 2024, the world market for personal care wipes will be $12.5 billion.
Trends in Processes, Materials & End Uses
Spunlace nonwovens lead all categories in volume with 518,800 tons (67.9%) of the 763,700 global tonnage total in 2019. The spunlace process is followed by ‘other’ with 97,300 tons (12.7%). Airlaid is third with 95,300 tons (12.5%), while wetlaid, with 26,700 tons (3.5%), and carded, with 25,700 tons (3.4%), round out the marketshare.
Marketshare is expected to grow in tonnage terms at an average CAGR of 5.6% for all processes from 2019 to 2024. Spunlace remains the largest process for personal care wipes and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8%. It is the only major process to exceed the average growth rate, though needlepunch, which is categorized as “other,” will expand its marketshare by 7%. The remaining processes are expected to grow well below the average.
The desire for more sustainable raw materials, as well as the specific nonwoven expansions in cellulose-based raw material that uses airlaid and spunlace processes, are heavily reflected in raw material usage across the next five years. Non-biodegradable raw materials accounted for 34.9% of all materials in 2019 and is expected to decrease to 31.1% by 2024. Biodegradable ‘non-plastic’ raw materials accounted for 62.7% in 2019, increasing to 66.7% by 2024, while biodegradable ‘plastic’ raw materials will decrease from 1.2% in 2019 to 1.1% by 2024.
The total personal care wipes market in 2019 consumes 763,700 tons of nonwovens; baby wipes accounts for 81.1% of consumption. The next largest consuming segment in 2019 is flushable adult moist toilet tissue at 6.2%; face (sheet) masks are in third place at 3.6% and another flushable segment, toddler toilet care wipes at 3.4%, is close behind in fourth place.
By 2024, there are some changes in the breakdown of nonwovens volume consumed in personal care wipes. The total personal care wipes market in 2024 consumes one million tons of nonwovens. As in 2019, the baby wipes segment is the largest, with 77.8% of the total market in tons in 2024. This is down about 3.3% from 2019.
Of the developed regions, North America is growing at an expected rate and will be the largest globally in consumption and sales of nonwovens personal care wipes by 2021 and 2019 respectively. In 2019, North America accounts for more than 78% of the global volume consumed for personal care wipes.
Baby wipes remain by far the largest consuming wipes segment in 2019 for this region, while the fastest-growing segment is flushable toddler toilet care wipes. In 2024, baby wipes are projected to consume 253,100 tons, while adult moist toilet tissue consumes 33,700 tons; toddler toilet care wipes are projected to reach 22,500 tons in North America in 2024.
Europe appears to be entering a period of slower economic growth overall. Asia and South America are all still growing at higher than global average rates, but growth for 2019–24 is projected to be slower than the previous five years. It appears South America (including Brazil) and Eastern Europe (including Russia and Turkey) will experience slower than historical growth through 2024. Asia, once the trade issues are resolved, should rebound in personal care wipes growth from 2019 to 2024. The Rest of the World, mainly the Middle East and Africa, is expected to experience slower personal care wipes growth for the 2019–24 period.
For more information and to download the report brochure, please visit: https://www.smithers.com/services/market-reports/nonwovens/personal-care-wipes-in-a-retail-landscape-to-2024