Euromonitor at EDANA Outlook 2017: Western Europe Highlights

In September 2017, Euromonitor International presented at EDANA’s Outlook 2017; an annual conference dedicated to the nonwovens industry. From manufacturing, to marketing to product development, the event brought together experts and decision-makers from all professional functions and from all levels of the value chain. Over three days, delegates attended a number of talks and seminars divided into a number of sessions respectively titled: resource management, testing, building trust through partnerships, technology and product developments and markets.

Euromonitor International presented during the markets session, focusing on the retail market for disposable hygiene with a talk entitled: Global Disposable Hygiene Market 2016 and Beyond: Trends, Outlook and Opportunities. With its component products often viewed as basic necessities of modern life, disposable hygiene is characteristic of a mature consumer good. Vastly different to other consumer products, however, is the industry’s intimate connection to basic personal comfort. As a result, shifting global demographics, new technology and the subsequent changes in consumer behaviour produce particularly dynamic change for all players.

Focusing on three main product categories, nappies/diapers/pants, sanitary protection and adult incontinence, Euromonitor International’s presentation sought to analyse this change, forecasting some of the most significant challenges and lucrative opportunities available to businesses operating in the disposable hygiene industry.

Global Forecast Overview shows sharp divide between developed and emerging markets

With the lowest and highest expectations for future sales growth respectively, Western Europe and Asia Pacific are the clearest and most extreme examples of the very different trends impacting consumers in developed versus emerging markets.

APAC offsets global trouble spots and weak Western Europe

Source: Euromonitor International

Western Europe Highlights

Western Europe is known for its high per capita consumption, the highest in the world in sanitary protection and for a well-developed and fiercely competitive retailing environment. Players operating in this region will continue to find margin growth hard to come by as low birth rates and product saturation hold down volumes while price competition restrains value growth. Huge pressure has been heaped onto prices by the expanding presence of discount retailers Aldi and Lidl and the growing market power of internet retail giant Amazon.

Western Europe Key Markets

Source: Euromonitor International

Along with its particular challenges, the region is home to a unique growth opportunity in adult incontinence. At 17% of volume sales in 2016, private label players in Western Europe were far less active in adult incontinence than in any of the categories profiled. This made the adult incontinence the exception in a market and a region known for fierce competition amongst retailers who have used retail hygiene products to drive up margins and footfall. It’s highly likely that consumers have less experience with the category at retail, making them more likely to use well-known brands as an indication of quality. The category’s relative immaturity has thus helped to slow the growth of private label. As a result, branded players Western Europe have a unique opportunity for margin growth within adult incontinence.

adult incontinence graph

Source: Euromonitor International

While global sales of adult incontinence have been lifted by ageing populations and rising obesity, Western European growth will also be accelerated by the entrance of younger, active users into the market. Typically suffering from light stress induced incontinence, these ‘casual’ users have been dissuaded by the stigma attached to incontinence as a product exclusively for the sick and elderly. Marketers’ efforts to combat this stigma will be made just that bit easier by the region’s huge proportion of urbanised and digitally connected consumers. This combination of factors has led to new products, information and ideas diffusing through populations at a much faster rate than in regions with a greater proportion of rural consumers.

market opportunity for incontinence

Source: Euromonitor International

To further exploit this trend, we suggested the untapped opportunity for collaborations between adult incontinence brands and apparel and footwear players. By combining the proven functional credentials of a brand like Tena with the fashion credentials and built-in distribution of an apparel brand like Tesco’s ‘F+F’, players can develop a distinct advantage in appealing to a wider spectrum of users.

cross industry collaborations

Source: Euromonitor International

regional takeaways

Source: Euromonitor International