Features

Wipes Add Appeal for More Demographics

By Susan Stansbury, Contributing Editor | September 15, 2009

Wipes find an audience, both young and old, alike.

Go along for a ride through segments of populations using wiping products, and then add in various special interest groups and you have a fascinating look at current offerings. So here it goes, beginning with babies.

Baby and Toddler Wipes


With a global market size of about $3.8 billion in 2008, according to Euromonitor, baby wipes experienced strong global growth of about 8%. Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark are category leaders.

While it’s mostly the moms who decide what’s best for their infants, they respond to the product attributes that improve the well being of their children. When Procter & Gamble broadened its Stages baby diapers lineup to include a corresponding wipe for various stages of a baby's development, there was a confirmation that brand leaders surely understand the value of offering baby wipes for every development stage. The P&G line begins with Sensitive Wipes—and also includes Pampers Swipers Wipes and Pampers Clean 'N Go Wipes. P&G Pampers Stages consist of: new baby, baby, toddler and preschooler.

K-C separates baby segments similarly. Promo­tions say, “From Happy Baby to BIG KID and everything in between! Count on HUGGIES brand for unbeatable choices.” In addition to baby age breakdowns, Huggies outlines performance features for babies that appeal to their parents/buyers. These wipes offer “gentle and sensitive care, natural care, naturally refreshing, calming touch and soft skin” options.

Numerous other private and store label wipes play an important role in the segment. In fact, private label wipes dominate the baby wipes market, representing about 30% of sales. Producer-marketers including Nice-Pak Products, Rockline Industries and Seventh Generation have delivered more advancements than typical of most me-too private labelers in other categories.

Current baby wipes have bonus features such as being hypoallergenic and fragrance-free; containing aloe and vitamin E; and being especially soft on the skin. Appealing to environmentally-conscious buyers, Seventh Generation baby wipes are “free of dyes and fragrances and contain a cleansing agent that is gentle on baby’s tender skin.” These wipes are made with a soft cloth that has not been processed with chemicals containing chlorine.

In recent years, North American baby wipes sales have stagnated, with retail sales today, staying put at around $1 billion. According to Rick Jezzi’s presentation at INDA’s World of Wipes Conference in July, “In response to lagging sales and competition, baby wipes makers…turn to innovation.” In terms of market segmentation within the category, developing new wet solutions and fabrics—there is still plenty of room for innovation.

Family and Household Wipes


INDA statistics estimate that household wipes (for surface cleaning) represent 48% of wipes products in North America, and according to president Rory Holmes, they are increasing their overall share. When you add the general-use skin care and all-purpose family wipes to this number, the share jumps to more 70% (with baby wipes comprising the third major segment).

As new wipes emerge, they are battling new tasks, such as elevator maintenance (top) and industrial kitchen cleaning (bottom). Photos courtesy of ITW Dymon.
Clorox pioneered the disinfectant household wipe in 2000 and today holds about a 50% market share within that category. Clorox disinfecting wipes have continued to evolve. Recent developments include designer containers and a ecofriendly wipes launched under the Green Works line. Competitors include P&G’s Mr. Clean Extra Power Disinfecting Wipes and Reckitt Benckiser Lysol Disinfecting Wipes. S.C. Johnson’s Pledge, Windex, Shout and other brands cover all-purpose categories from furniture and glass cleaning to stain removal.

Also on the ecofriendly front are Method brand wipes, which appeal to buyers who are trendy, often upscale and interested in “green products.” Promotions by Method illustrate brand positioning, as in this Pink Grapefruit wipe advertisement:

“Some days, you just don't have the energy to pull the trigger on a spray bottle. That's when our all surface wipes really come in handy. These sweet-smelling, non-toxic wipes not only conserve energy (yours), they’re made from compostable bamboo fibers that biodegrade safely—helping keep our planet every bit as clean as your kitchen.”

Nice-Pak’s Sani-Cloth Household Surface Wipes are for household use in this category to disinfect multiple surfaces throughout the house. The Sani-Cloth brand has strong
disinfecting credentials coming from its line of healthcare products. Its Nice ‘N Clean brand crosses demographic lines from baby to family and on-the-go users.

In addition to particular demographic groups based on age, there are families and various groups, such as on-the-go people and travelers who eat away from home often. An interesting new product rollout for use in fast food restaurants, food processing plants and anywhere surface cleaning in institutional food preparation occurs is Athea’s new Food Surface Contact Sanitizing Wipe.


“This new sanitizing wipe is an EPA-regulated product,” said Joe Hemmer of Athea, Milwaukee, WI, “and contains no alcohol, an appealing factor that sets it apart from what is presently offered in this category. Additionally, this product is a no-rinse wipe, enabling the user to simply wipe the surface and move on.”

It is available for private label custo­mers in canisters or flat packs.

Personal wipes and skin contact niches continue to grab attention due to new concepts created by product developers who can capitalize on evolving nonwoven fabrics and targeted wet formulations. From cosmetics, OTC treatments, sun and spa care, to general cleansing and toilet wipes—personal care products tend to command a higher price wipe than surface wipes.

Interest in products that are disinfectants and are effective against viruses continues to propel other new wipes developments. Like household segments, there is also increasing recognition of natural and “green” options. Fabrics, fibers and natural additives are consuming major development time. Each constituency has its reason for serious evaluation.

Case in point: Cotton containing wipes are perceived as natural and kind to skin. In addition, “Cotton is more environmentally friendly than some would have you believe,” according to Janet Reed of Cotton Inc. “In terms of land use efficiency, cotton meets 36% of the world’s textile demands on less than 3% of the global area of land devoted to agriculture. Cotton can do this because tremendous productivity gains have been made. Further, only 3% of agriculture’s share of the planet’s water is used in production, and every part of the cotton plant is utilized.”

Another subset of personal care consumers is older populations interested in anti-aging and other wipes products. Baby boomers moving into retirement fall into various categories, from healthy, active lifestylers, to those with medical needs for incontinence and care wipes. In this latter segment, Tena is an established brand leader in Europe, a growing brand in the USA and “now expanding into Central and Latin America, the Far East, India and other developing regions,” according to SCA-TENA. “We are at the forefront of developing products that meet the needs of individuals, clinicians and healthcare services around the world,” said a company spokesman.

Markets For Men & Women


Male-targeted wipes are growing across many categories, from industrial and automotive to facial and personal care. In one example:

“Our demographic is industrial and institutional,” said Chris Plotz of ITW Dymon. “It’s primarily male away-from-the-sink industrial and a mix institutional. Our biggest demographic simply is anyone with hand usage, as our flagship product Scrubs-In-A-Bucket is a premoistened wipe. If you are away from the sink and have dirty hands, such as a lineman, construction worker, field mechanic etc... you know and use our products. Our demographic is interested in very high quality products that do the job in extreme conditions. We formulate and manufacture to professional heavy-duty standards.”

Mr. Plotz joked that their customers are “often times the sausage-finger, hammer-handle, mustache-tuff guys... who, at the end of the day, are hard working Americans.”

As reported by Euromonitor in the June 2009 issue of Nonwovens Industry, Feminine hygiene wipes are predicted to see the highest average annual growth globally to 2013. Boosting growth, brand leaders are promoting feminine hygiene wipes for continuous use, such as this P&G tagline: “Always Feminine Wipes are soft and lightly scented to help you feel fresh and clean all day, every day.”

Along with various wipes cosmetic and skin-care leaders, product developers are aiming for more products that appeal to this key female buying population.

Riding the wave of new wipes are companies who combine their own knowledge base in various markets and apply them to demographic lifestyles. Beyond convenience, the newest wipes are delivering advanced performance features and complementing the cultural vision of today’s consumers.
About the Author
Susan Stansbury writes regularly for HPCW. She can be reached at susan@rightangleconcepts.com
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • Restoring Rembrandt

    Restoring Rembrandt

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 26, 2016
    Ranir LLC has acquired Rembrandt, an iconic name in teeth whitening, and plans to make it a staple in the value segment.

  • Active Agents

    Active Agents

    September 19, 2016
    On the surface, surfactants may seem staid, but the market, and the supplier activity driving it, is bubbling.

  • Back to School

    Back to School

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 1, 2016
    It may be September, but class was in session this summer during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Executive Educ

  • What

    What's In Your Formula?

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 1, 2016
    A look at the ingredients beauty brands are using to fuel their formulations and capture consumers’ attention.

  • A Sweet-Smelling Sanctuary

    A Sweet-Smelling Sanctuary

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||September 1, 2016
    Home fragrance is enhanced by aromatic developments in delivery and components.

  • How Green Is Your Surfactant?

    How Green Is Your Surfactant?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director ||September 1, 2016
    Suppliers offer a range of solutions to help household and personal care product formulators develop formulas

  • New Surfactants

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director ||September 1, 2016
    Here’s a list of new ingredients introduced by surfactant suppliers

  • 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

  • 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.