Features

Regional Report: The Chinese Wipes Market

By Sandra Levy, Associate Editor | September 15, 2009

As the rest of the world moves toward penetration, will China be the next big market for wipes?

While still in its infancy by global standards, the China wipes market is increasingly showing signs that it is healthy and maturing at a quick pace. Industry observers as well as Chinese company executives predict that the wipes market will continue to swell. In the meantime, China is busy addressing similar concerns that are affecting U.S. wipes suppliers and manufacturers, including the push to produce cost-effective, ecofriendly products and the desire to increase the number of applications for wipes.

Just how large is China’s wipes market? According to market tracker Euromonitor International, in 2008 retail sales of facial cleansing wipes tallied $6.2 million in China, growing at an average rate of 10% annually since 2003 with a total percentage growth of 61.5% from 2003 to 2008. The biggest boost in sales came from the disposable paper products industry where personal wipes reached $155.9 million in retail sales in 2008, rising 129.4% since 2003. According to a Euromonitor spokesman, “This shows a large increase in Chinese consumers purchasing personal wipes such as Johnson & Johnson’s or Hearttex wipes.”

Euromonitor International predicts this segment of the wipes industry to continue its sales climb with forecasted sales reaching $226.9 million in 2013. The personal wipes sector comprises 98.7% of the disposable wipes industry. The wipes market for disposable paper products reached $157.8 million in 2008, rising $89.4 million since 2003, with an increase of 130.7% from 2003 to 2008, at an annual average percentage increase of 18.2%. Euromonitor is predicting value sales to increase to $230.2 million in 2013.

Eugene Dai, president and general manager of consultancy Eugene Dai Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China, agreed that there is rapid growth in the Chinese wipes market. He attributed growth to the fact that the population is getting wealthier, and people are seeking “a better living environment.”

Mr. Dai said that spunlace is the latest technology for wipes being used in China, mirroring a similar development in the U.S. Another trend in China, parallel to the U.S., is a push toward environmentally friendly. Many products are using recycled fiber. Many research and development institutes arehelping the industry find out about and to create these kinds of environment friendly materials from easily dissolved fibers. Cellulose fibers and even vegetable fibers are under study for the disposable wipes products,” he said.

While it is easy to identify the top players in the U.S. wipes market, Dai said that is not the case in China. The main producers of wipes in China are located in the provinces ofGuang-Dong, Fu-Jian, ZheJiang, Jiang-Su and Hubei.

“There are so many producers that it is difficult to say who is the top player. Since the market is huge and the applications are different, some producers are good in some markets but not so strong in another market. There are many middle (size) and small factories too. There is not yet a really big size manufacturer leading the market. There appears to be no shortage of trends in China’s wipes industry.

“The use of finer fiber in this field will be possible, but due to micro-fiber production in China it is not yet mature. The imported fiber costs are too high,” Mr. Dai continued.

Acknowledging that spunlace nonwovens are beneficial for producing wipes products only when the technology is up to snuff, Mr. Dai said from a cost savings perspective, locally made spunlace equipment has many problems. He predicted that the wipes market will enjoy better growth in the future, after spunlace technology becomes “more stable on quality,” thanks to the construction of more sophisticated spunlace equipment in the country.

Finally, Dai said the wipes market and applications for wipes are poised for growth. “Many people are forecasting the future expansion of this market. It will be bigger, possibly 10 times larger than its present size. Applications for wipes are growing fast in the following areas: electronic appliance production, filtration and cleaning, laboratory, restaurant, hotel, medical, household, auto, precision instruments and furniture. New market studies are underway. Environ­mental protection is a future area and dissolving ability after usage is also a main concern,” said Mr. Dai.

One company which is poised for growth, despite several obstacles, in the wipes market is Feixiang Nonwoven Products Co. According to Zhao Yunxiang, general manager, the past decade has culminated in the opening of four workshops. The firm employs 300 workers and has posted $30 million in annual sales. Despite this past success,orders have declined 20% in recent months. Still, Mr. Yunxiang is optimistic and he hasn’t trimmed his roster of employees. “We are confident about the nonwovens industry,” he explained.

Wipes manufacturer PowerTex Nonwovens Co. Ltd., located in Hangzhou, China, has set its sights on carving out a profitable niche in the nonwovens market with an ecofriendly product. PowerTex’s wiping cloth, Eco-Wipe, is a spunlace wiping cloth that is manufactured using 100% recycled fibers that have been harvested from the garment industries’ cast-offs and nonwoven fabric trim waste.

“The blending of these materials gives the fabric unique properties of strength, softness, and absorbency achieved through the combination of polyfiber, cotton, and viscose,” said Yu Fuchao, PowerTex Nonwovens’ president and senior engineer.

PowerTex Nonwovens, which exports all of its wipes to the western market has two needlepunch lines, two spunlace lines and a converting operation.Mr. Fuchao explained that the company developed a specially designed spunlace process system that has a newly developed fiber recycle web-forming water entanglement filtration system. “When we developed the new generation of wipe products, the wipes’ cost dropped more than 15% while maintaining the same performance as regular products,” said Mr. Fuchao.

It seems the next several years will be crucial to China’s development into a major nonwovens market. With major spunlace investment—including new lines from Rieter Perfojet and Fleissner ongoing, surely wipes makers—like Mr. Yunxiang—have a reason to be bullish about the future.

“It is a growing industry and will be one of the most profitable in the near future,” he said.
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • Fro Yo!

    Fro Yo!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 22, 2016
    Project Beauty dishes out Hairgurt, a line of vitamin-rich hair shampoos and conditioning masques.

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.

  • The International Top 30 Household and Personal Products Companies

  • Special Effects

    Special Effects

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||August 1, 2016
    Fall 2016 color cosmetics reflect light and offer a focus on elements like pigment, slip and wear.

  • Works of Art

    Works of Art

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 1, 2016
    These suppliers know that the container can be just as important as the juice to entice luxury shoppers.

  • Silent Partners

    Silent Partners

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 1, 2016
    From research & development to logistics to confidentiality, savvy distributors help finished formulators achieve their goals

  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Perceived Perfection

    Perceived Perfection

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    From primers to pressed powders, facial cosmetics help create the illusion of a flawless complexion.

  • Preserve & Serve

    Preserve & Serve

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Suppliers with innovative preservatives provide staying power for formulations.

  • Quaternized Guar Is a Natural Solution

    Quaternized Guar Is a Natural Solution

    Tom Schoenberg, Schoenberg Consulting||July 1, 2016
    The polymer has applications in a range of skin and hair care formulas that does not build up on hair with repeated use

  • The Top 50

    The Top 50

    June 30, 2016
    A look at the biggest US companies in the global household and personal products industry.

  • Take Notice

    Take Notice

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||June 1, 2016
    Packaging trends revolve around trendy artwork, eco-conscious materials—and portability is a plus too!

  • Virtual Reality

    Virtual Reality

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 1, 2016
    An update on nature-identical ingredients for cosmetics and personal care products.

  • Shiseido Advances in the US

    Shiseido Advances in the US

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||June 1, 2016
    New facility in Windsor, NJ demonstrates its dedication to the US and other markets outside Japan.

  • Get Smart About Your Big Data

    Get Smart About Your Big Data

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 1, 2016
    Experts at the IRI Growth Summit explain how to make personal connections with customers.

  • For the Love of Lipids

    For the Love of Lipids

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||June 1, 2016
    AOCS and SCC to deliver a program geared to cosmetic chemists of the important role that fats and oils play in a healthy skin

  • April in Paris

    April in Paris

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||June 1, 2016
    In-Cosmetics sets attendance record in its return to the City of Light.

  • Salon Selectives

    Salon Selectives

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||June 1, 2016
    The inside story about what stylists think about the state of the industry and the state of your products and ingredients.

  • New Skin Care Ingredients

    May 13, 2016
    Here is a list of new skin care ingredients available from select suppliers

  • Erasing the Signs of Aging

    Pauline Rouaud-Tinguely, David Boudier, Sylvain Mazalrey, Jenny Laumonier, Isabelle Cruz, Gu00e9raldine Bon, Karine Perrinet, Bu00e9ranger Tassy, Brigitte Closs, Silab R&D, Saint-Viance, France||May 2, 2016
    Silab researchers explain how by acting on the endogenous hyaluronic acid pathway.

  • Bite Now

    Bite Now

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||May 2, 2016
    Is the time finally right for beauty-from-within to move into the mainstream?

  • Boxed Out?

    Boxed Out?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 2, 2016
    Salon sales outpace mass-market results in the highly competitive, highly fashionable and yes, highly-colorful hair color cat

  • That’s Awesome!

    That’s Awesome!

    May 2, 2016
    Extracts & Ingredients highlights the newest ideas in efficacious oils for the personal care market.

  • Wacker Builds on Its Success

    Wacker Builds on Its Success

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director ||May 2, 2016
    The silicone maker had a good 2015 and expects the gains to continue in 2016, driven, in part, by success in the Americas and

  • I Want It All

    I Want It All

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||May 2, 2016
    Skin care moves beyond the basics with pampering formulations with unique components and novel functions.

  • Multi-Cultural Beauty Update

    Multi-Cultural Beauty Update

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||April 1, 2016
    Established brands and start-ups address the needs of multi-cultural beauty consumers.

  • Who Makes That?

    Who Makes That?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||April 1, 2016
    From concept and formulation to testing and filling, today’s contract manufacturers perform a range of services for marketers