Global demand for nonwovens is forecast to increase 3.1% per year to 14.1 million metric tons in 2027. Improving standards of living will boost demand for nonwovens used in consumer and medical products, with expanding manufacturing activity further driving gains in a variety of durable goods applications.
Market value is expected to rise 3.4% per year to $63.1 billion, a deceleration from the prior five-year period as price growth moderates following above-average increases from 2020 to 2022 that resulted from:
- supply chain disruptions associated with the pandemic, as producers faced unreliable logistics and inconsistent raw materials supply
- surging demand for certain nonwoven-inclusive products, most notably medical masks
- a spike in the prices of oil and petroleum products following the 2022 onset of the Russia-Ukraine war
Global Demographic Changes Altering Personal Hygiene Market
Personal hygiene products are the most significant individual market for nonwovens, and infant diapers and training pants represent the largest segment of that market. Rising standards of living will enable greater penetration of these products in lower-income markets, but shifting demographics worldwide will challenge stronger gains.
Most high-income nations have faced flat-to-declining populations for some time, and the under-five population is forecast to shrink through 2027 in both North America and Europe. In addition, middle-income countries entering the high-earning ranks are displaying similar demographic trends, with birthrates falling as income levels rise. Most notably, China’s birthrate dropped considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a steep decline in the under-five population will greatly hamper opportunities for nonwovens in infant-related personal hygiene products.
These challenges will be somewhat offset by rapid growth in the world’s population of individuals aged 65-and-older, reflecting the aging of earlier generations combined with improved healthcare. Growth in this segment will support healthy demand gains for adult incontinence products, which currently represent a minority of the personal hygiene nonwovens market.
Meltblown Nonwovens Producers Facing Overcapacity
Meltblown nonwovens were the product segment most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as booming demand for medical masks led to high levels of capacity investment in this relatively low-volume segment. As demand waned following the peak of the pandemic, the global meltblown nonwovens industry was left with significant excess capacity. To make use of it, producers are working to broaden applications for these materials and exploring opportunities for greater use of nonwovens in markets like wipes and filtration.Study Description
This Freedonia industry study analyzes the 12.0 million metric ton global nonwovens industry. It presents historical demand data (2012, 2017, and 2022) and forecasts (2027 and 2032) by application (disposables, durables), web formation process (spunmelt, carded, wetlaid, airlaid), market (personal hygiene, wipes, construction, filtration, medical/surgical, motor vehicle, other markets), and region (North America, Central and South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa/Midesat). Demand in dollar and area terms are also addressed. The study also evaluates company market share and competitive analysis on industry competitors including Ahlstrom, Berry Global, Fitesa, Freudenberg, and Kimberly-Clark.