Features

North American Wipes Study

By Karen McIntyre, Nonwovens Industry, Associate Editor | September 27, 2013

Market to grow at 16% until 2017.

This summer INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, released a new report tracking growth for the North American wipes market. According to data collected by the Cary, NC-based trade association, the market for disposable wipes in North America will continue its track record of strong growth between 2012-2017. The report is titled “North American Wipes Market: Trends & Forecasts 2012-2017” and is available from INDA.

Brad Kalil, INDA’s director of Market Research and Statistics, says, “We are pleasantly surprised by the unrelenting growth of the disposable nonwovens wipes industry, even during these challenging economic times for consumers and businesses.”

Kalil continues, “In the consumer wipes segment, which accounts for two-thirds of the tonnage, we still see sustained growth in the mature baby wipes category; while both household and personal wipes expanded at a rapid rate, not only through broader usage but also with continuous product innovation.”

Looking forward, a few variables may cause swift expansion within the industrial/institutional segment, such as reclassification of wipes and laundered shop towels within the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (the Wiper Rule) and the medical industries’ increased liability around healthcare associated infections (HAIs) coupled with a strong GDP forecast at the end of the outlook period.

“Consequently, our outlook for the North American disposable nonwovens wipes market is for continued strong growth with a 16% increase in the per annum growth rate over the outlook period (2012-2017) compared to recent historical period (2007-2012),” Kalil says.

This comprehensive report provides detailed forecasts and trends for the consumer and industrial/institutional wipes markets. Product segments include:

• Consumer Wipes
• Baby Wipes
• Household Wipes, including Hard Surface/Disinfecting, Wet Floor Cleaning, General Cleaning, Electrostatic Dry Floor Cleaning, Automotive (Home Use), Furniture Polish and Glass/Metal Cleaning, and Wet and Dry Floor Cleaning
• Personal Wipes, including Premoistened Toilet, Cosmetic/Facial Cleaners, Toddler Flushables, Antibacterial, General Body/Bath Incontinent, Intimate Feminine Care
• Industrial/Institutional Wipes
• Industrial/Commercial wipes including an estimate of ranges and towel/shop wipes
• Institutional wipes in healthcare and food service

The report includes sales estimates by consumer channel and national brands/private labels.  Sales in some of these consumer channels accounts for a significant portion of total sales for certain wipe SKUs and this data is not typically captured in other wipes reports.

In addition to the forecast, the report includes trends and construction details of leading brands within consumer wipes.

Household and Personal Care Wipes sat down with Kalil for a more in-depth look at what this report has to offer and what it says about the North American wipes market.

HPCW: Please tell me a little bit about the recently introduced report, The North American Wipes Market.

Brad Kalil: The “North American Wipes Market: Trends & Forecasts 2012-2017” report provides detailed forecasts and trends analysis for each of the consumer and industrial/institutional wipes market segments and sub-segments in tonnage, square meters and dollar sales figures for the roll goods and end-uses. Additionally, the consumer wipes section includes an examination on  “counting the uncounted”; while the industrial/institutional wipers section provides a view of the overall wipers market including both reusable laundered shop wipes/towels and rag. The report further includes nonwovens wipes consumption and outlook by production technology with a brief summary of each of the key producers.

HPCW: Did you find that the market is still growing? At what level?

BK: We are pleasantly surprised by the unrelenting growth of the disposable nonwovens wipes industry, even during these challenging economic times for consumers and businesses. Overall INDA estimates the market grew 4.8% in sales to end-users annually between 2007 and 2012.

Disposable wipes continue to be an important and growing segment in the North American nonwovens market, it has captured a greater share of the total North American nonwovens market in tonnage, growing from just 11.5% in 2002 to 17.1% in 2012.

HPCW: What are some of the factors driving growth in wipes?

BK: In the consumer wipes segment, which accounts for two-thirds of tonnage, we still see sustained growth in the mature baby wipes category; while both household and personal wipes expanded at a rapid rate, not only through broader usage but also with continuous product innovation.

HPCW: What were some of the most surprising things you found in the study?

BK: That the mature category of baby wipes continues to grow in tonnage. Though it is mature, it is not stagnant. This may be due to the fact that inexpensive private labels encourage users to increase consumption per change and/or to use these inexpensive wipes on more than just babies.

HPCW: How has the rate of new product introductions held up? Do you continue to see a lot of innovation in the industry?

BK: Product innovation continues to drive both the household and personal care wipe segments. INDA expects this to continue as, more or less, anything dispensed as a liquid or a cream, can be applied by a wipe. We expect to see the tonnage amount for personal care wipes double between 2007 and 2017.

HPCW: What are some of the major challenges stifling growth in the wipes market?

BK: The EPA “Wiper Rule” has stifled the industrial wipes market, given the recent changes within the rule, this should begin to level the playing field. If the playing field were fully leveled, this represents a billion dollar opportunity for the wipes market.

HPCW: Has there been a lot of foreign competition?

BK: Yes, primarily in the offering of substrates to converters.

HPCW: Looking ahead where do you expect to see the growth?

BK: Looking forward, a few variables may cause swift expansion within the industrial/institutional segment, such as the recent reclassification of wipes and laundered shop towels within the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (known as the Wiper Rule) and the medical industries’ increased liability around healthcare associated infections (HAIs) coupled with a strong GDP forecast at the end of our outlook period.

Consequently, our outlook for the North American disposable nonwovens wipes market is for continued strong growth with a 16% increase in the per annum growth rate over the outlook period (2012-2017) compared to recent historical period (2007-2012).

The report is available for $2,500 for INDA members and $3,500 for non-members. More information: Regina Spitzer, rspitzer@inda.org; (919) 233-1210 ext. 128, www.inda.org.

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