US demand to grow more than 2% yearly through 2018
Demand for wipes is expected to expand more than two percent per year through 2018 to $2.6 billion dollars. Both the consumer and industrial markets will be affected by an improving economy and regulatory changes. Sales are also boosted by the convenience or superior performance factors offered by wipes compared to competitive products such as reusable cloths and paper towels in many applications. The introduction of new or more innovative wipes will also continue to spur usage, including those targeting niche applications and markets such as specialty hygiene products or those that would appeal to men. However, the number of product introductions will slow due to the large variety of wipes already available on the market.
Demand for industrial wipes to outpace consumer wipes
The consumer wipes segment accounts for the larger share of overall demand. Advances in the consumer market are expected to decelerate through 2018 compared to the 2008-2013 period. As the industry matures, penetration gains will slow as many consumers have already incorporated wipes into their routines. The largest segment is personal care wipes, in which baby wipes dominate, accounting for nearly three-quarters of value sales in 2013. However, growth in baby wipes demand will be restrained by the already high usage rates of wipes per infant and many consumers returning to specialty personal care wipes after substituting lower priced baby wipes during the 2007-2009 recession. In addition, other consumers who economized during the downturn will continue to return to more specialized, higher priced household care wipes products, boosting gains in the accelerating household care segment. Some of the fastest growth will be seen in new niche products.
Unlike consumer wipes, growth in the industrial market through 2018 will represent an acceleration from the 2008- 2013 period. As growth in the manufacturing sector picks up from a low base, demand for wipes will increase. Sales will also be spurred by the Environmental Protection Agency’s passage of the Wiper Rule in July 2013, which allows solventcontaminated disposable wipes to be labeled as non-hazardous solid waste. This rule makes disposable wipes more competitive with reusable, laundered shop towels because the new regulations should decrease the total financial burden of utilizing disposable wipes in several industrial applications. Although there is no specific time frame for when states can choose to implement the new regulations, greater demand for disposable industrial wipes is expected as the rule is implemented over time.
Flushability remains key factor, favors new substrates
Flushability continues to be an important factor in the wipes industry, particularly for personal care wipes such as feminine hygiene wipes and moist toilet paper. Greater media attention and public concern has led the industry to make guidelines for flushable products. The first guidelines were developed by the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) and European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA) in 2008. The most recent edition was published in June 2013, which requires third party testing and proper labeling of wipes. These guidelines have pushed the industry to innovate in developing wipes substrates, leading to products that disperse more readily once flushed.