The market for wipes is set to grow at an average of 3.9 percent from now until 2013, which will take it to a value of $2.3bn, according to market research provider Freedonia.
This represents a slow down in the rate of growth experienced in the years 2003 – 2008, which the market researchers put down to a slowing economy, increasing market maturity and a shift towards products that are deemed to be more environmentally friendly.
It is the biggest sub category within the market – that for baby wipes, which is predicted to experience the most dramatic fall in growth.
Baby wipe growth ebbs away
In the five years up to 2008 the market had grown at an annual rate of 7.2 percent to reach a value of $518m, whereas in the five years up to 2013, annual growth is expected to slow to 1.6 percent to reach $560m.
Baby care has been one of the fastest growing product categories in recent years, with consumers in this category swift to embrace the natural and organic trend, the same type of eco-friendly consumer that is now likely to cut down on their use of wipes.
But, according to the company’s latest study, simply entitled Wipes, plenty of opportunities still exist in the category, particularly in the areas of convenience and innovation – factors that have traditionally driven growth.
Growth for medicated wipes
One area in particular is likely to be medicated wipes, which grew at a rate of 9.2 percent in the five years up until 2008 to reach a value of $213m, and is likely to continue to grow at a rate of 6.4 percent in the five years up to 2013 to reach $290m.
Freedonia says wipes that offer convenience and effectiveness are likely to be the ones that will continue to grow, whereas those that do not provide cost and convenience are expected to drop out of the market.
On the ingredients side, the study reveals that there are likely to be advances in the chemicals that saturate the wipes, providing the innovation that manufacturers will be hoping to woo consumers with.
This will see big gains for surfactants, particularly as manufacturers move away from solvent formulations, towards more natural-based solutions.
Likewise, surfactants offering biocidal properties are likely to lead overall value gains, driven by the increasing concerns over bacterial contamination, both in household, industrial and medical environments.