Global demand for wipes is forecast to increase 5.1 percent annually through 2018 to $13.5 billion.
Demand for healthcare wipes is driven by continued modernization of hospitals and other facilities in developing countries, particularly processes intended to minimize healthcare acquired infections. Manufacturing wipes will also post gains as these products are adopted by industrial producers, particularly in the electronics and motor vehicle industries. Sales of manufacturing wipes will especially benefit from investment by foreign companies, which in many cases bring contemporary manufacturing practices, including wipes for cleaning and surface preparation.
Worldwide, sales of wipes will benefit from rising incomes and urbanization, as these factors will boost the number of consumers who can afford wipes and those who have access to wipes. Busier lifestyles -- particularly as more women work outside of the home -- will also drive demand for these convenience products. Furthermore, growing manufacturing activity and modernizing healthcare practices will favor wipes because they provide better protection from linting and cross contamination than traditional cloths or paper products.
Because wipes are considered convenience products rather than necessities, developed nations still represent a significant share of sales. Western Europe and North America, combined, account for half of all global wipes sales. The U.S., alone, is the largest national market in theworld and makes up almost one-fourth of sales worldwide. Gains will stem primarily from the ongoing introduction of newer or higher value wipes as more people continue to incorporate these products into their routines. For instance, sales of incontinence and bathroom hygiene wipes will register gains as consumers overcome the stigma that had been attached to such products. Value growth will also stem from high value product innovations, such as the usage of organic fabrics, gentler cleaning additives, low-linting characteristics, and more easily flushable substrates.
Developing markets are expected to account for an increasing share of sales through the forecast period as they post gains that exceed the global average. For instance, the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries will together represent one-third of additional global sales of wipes through 2018. China was the second largest market in 2013 and saw torrid growth from 2008 to 2013, with overall demand nearly doubling. Alone, the country will account for nearly onefifth of additional world sales through the forecast period while generating doubledigit annual advances. Among national markets, only India will achieve faster growth. Increasing economic activity will continue to result in heightened personal incomes, allowing more consumers the ability to purchase goods that were once viewed as luxury items, including consumer wipes. Further growth will stem from rising urbanization since wipes are still primarily available in retail networks in major cities. The improving market penetration of disposable diapers will also drive wipes sales as baby wipes are often a gateway product among consumer wipes. Additionally, wipes will benefit from growing consumer interest in infant and personal hygiene.