Retail Hygiene Industry Overview

The retail hygiene industry has already reached “tipping point”, with 53% of retail value generated from emerging markets in 2012. Hygiene products are among the most developed fmcg markets in this respect, with retail tissue not expected to reach tipping point until 2017. Whilst emerging markets are seeing strong growth, retail hygiene is a fairly mature industry in developed markets and highly affected by declining birth rates.

Nappies/diapers/pants: the engine of category growth

Nappies/diapers/pants will outperform all other hygiene categories in actual sales growth over the 2012-17 forecast period. Rising disposable incomes, the busy lifestyles of young parents and growing hygiene awareness, along with relatively high unit prices compared to other hygiene products, will drive retail value growth. 

Trading up in sanitary protection
Sanitary protection is approaching maturity in key growth markets, such as China and Brazil. However, consumers here are trading up and use higher value products, narrowing the gap with the type of products consumed in the developed world.

Normalisation of incontinence
Incontinence will be the key driver of retail hygiene growth in developed markets. Manufacturers are trying to “normalise” consumption of these products, encouraging consumers to purchase specialist products through high street retailers.

Baby wipes poised for growth in developing countries
With a vast amount of cheaper substitutes (cloths and towels) available, wipes are still predominantly used by consumers in developed markets. However, with higher penetration of nappies/diapers/pants and rising hygiene awareness, baby wipes sales are slowly moving towards “take-off” in emerging markets.

Cotton wool/buds/pads remain a low value niche
Cotton wool/buds/pads remains something of a niche category in retail hygiene with sales remaining around the US$3 billion mark in 2012. This has much to do with the low value-nature of these product itself. In developed markets, brand loyalty is fairly low and private label is putting pressure on category sales.
Pampers, a US$14 billion brand
Procter & Gamble’s Pampers is set to expand its dominant brand position in retail hygiene thanks to the pre-eminent brand loyalty it enjoys with many parents, such as those in China. With Kimberly-Clark exiting the European nappy market, Huggies, the second largest brand in retail hygiene, will lose ground over the medium.

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