The feminine hygiene market is currently characterized by constant growth. The most commonly used products are sanitary pads, tampons, and panty liners, which are considered under the disposable segment. In the last years, consumers shift their consumer behavior towards eco-friendly alternatives, leading to a highly dynamic market. The feminine hygiene market is characterized by many new products ranging from menstrual cups to tampons made from organic or biodegradable material. The blog aims to shed light on the most important changes in the market as well as the outlook for the future, what opportunities arise from the dynamics.
Feminine Hygiene Market Overview
The feminine hygiene market is expected to hit 38,8 bn US$ retail value by 2025. In 2020, the strongest segments remained pantyliners (4,3 bn US$), tampons (2,6 bn US$) and towels (24,0 bn US$). Some of the largest manufacturers on the market are Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark, Edgewell Personal Care, Johnson & Johnson, Essity, Ontex, Kao Corporation, and Dai (Source: Globenewswire). Developing countries such as India, Indonesia, or Nigeria are leading the growth of the feminine hygiene market. Asia Pacific is projected to grow at the highest CAGR, which is globally expected at a CAGR of 4,7% until 2025.
Driver for growth: Rising awareness for menstrual health & hygiene in feminine hygiene
One key factor driving the growth of the feminine hygiene market is the increasing awareness of menstrual health and hygiene and the growing female literacy rate. According to studies, there has been a relationship between literacy and health, and feminine health and hygiene are no exception. In the last years, UNICEF and UNESCO actively educated young females in under-developed and developing countries to raise awareness about feminine hygiene products. This has led to a positive impact on feminine health management. Furthermore, an ongoing discussion in several countries on providing feminine sanitary products as part of national healthcare services and other governmental initiatives have actively aimed to curb the social stigma of menstruation. This has led to increased use of feminine hygiene products in under-developed and developing countries driving the growing demand for feminine hygiene products.
Consumer change from disposable products to innovative and organic products
The disposable segment has still the largest market share within the feminine hygiene market. Consumers become more conscious about the environmental impact of their buying behavior. Therefore, especially disposable products are increasingly being questioned. As most feminine hygiene products contain up to 90% of plastic, the disposable segment accounts for more than 200,000 tons of plastic waste per year. Each user, on average, generates around 125 to 150 kg of feminine hygiene product waste in their lifetime (Source: allmatters.com). Most of the plastic waste ends up in landfills and, ultimately, in the environment.
Young consumer drive the change in the feminine hygiene industry
In recognition of the negative impact of plastic contamination on the environment, companies started to come up with eco-friendly alternatives. Especially Generation Z’s shopping behavior is driven by making a positive impact on social and environmental sustainability. But also Millennial consumers are increasingly demanding eco-friendly products. Studies show that most consumers are willing to change their buying behavior to reduce their impact on the environment (Source: Deloitte). Also, especially eco-conscious millennials and generation Z are willing to pay more for green products. So, which are the segments to invest in over the forecast period in the Global Feminine Hygiene Market? Let’s look at the options.
Organic materials: Sustainability comes first
The market is strongly characterized by many new market entries, especially from small companies that have a dedicated image towards sustainability. The product offer ranges from organic tampons and pads to biodegradable products. Eco-friendly products claim to have several benefits for consumers. One advantage is the avoidance of chemicals that can have negative impacts on the health and safety of the human body.
The other aspect is the impact on the environment, as biodegradable products will eventually break down to their basic components, which means that they do not have a lasting impact on the environment. Examples are Rael, Cora, Oi, Naturalena’s Veeda, NIIMA, The Honey Pot, or Planera. Many of these companies sell feminine hygiene products made from pure or organic cotton. The benefit of this material is that it’s free from harmful additives.
New innovative products enter the feminine hygiene market
From menstrual cups to panties, many new products are revolutionizing the feminine hygiene market. A menstrual cup is a funnel-shaped cup, made from rubber or silicone. As is it reusable, it is better for the environment than pads, tampons, or other disposable products. Furthermore, they are budget-friendly compared to disposable products. Provided the menstrual cup is properly cleaned, it can usually be used for several years. Another advantage of using menstrual cups compared to tampons lies in improved safety. By using a menstrual cup, consumers don’t risk suffering from a toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is a bacterial infection that can be caused by tampons (Source: HealthLine).
Another relatively new development is dedicated period underwear, which offers higher protection compared to normal underwear. It consists of specific materials and several layers to make them leak-proof. Since reusable feminine hygiene products are by far the eco-friendliest, many consumers have completely changed their consumer behavior and prefer to buy products that are washable and reusable, like panties or menstrual cups.
Europe and USA: mature markets request for higher automation, smart production, and a focus on sustainability
The objectives for mature markets focus more on increasing production efficiency, lower power consumption, optimized line layout, and increased ROI. When it comes to sustainability, consumer choices are not only based on the product but on the overall supply chain. Consumers are placing more and more emphasis on the entire production and supply chain. Of course, the product itself is of enormous importance, as we have learned. However, a company can stand out from the crowd by reducing CO₂ emissions.
Sustainability ambitions can be positively influenced, for example with automated production flow solutions. It is important to focus on designing production flow solutions that are reliable, cost-efficient, and have low energy consumption. FlexLink develops systems by applying a variety of elements, and when combining these elements, it generates environmentally friendly results. Using modular equipment design makes the system re-usable and in that way causes a smaller negative impact on the environment. More info here.
Contact us and we’ll help you to find the right solutions regarding automated production flows and sustainability. Being part of Coesia enriches our experience in developing customized solutions for the FMCG industry. As a group, we can deliver combined expertise also thanks to partnerships among its member companies. Together with our sister company GDM, a worldwide leader in the Disposable Hygiene Industry, we can provide turn-key solutions. Read the latest blog of GDM about feminine hygiene here.
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I am all for sustainability! Excited to see more sustainable projects and products made for women, as we currently lack of it.