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According to a new report from Reportlinker.com, "U.S. Wipes Industry," the demand for wipes, both consumer and industrial, is forecast to increase 4.5 percent per annum to $2.3 billion in 2014. The report says that wipes will continue to benefit from features such as ease-of-use, disposability, portability, and reduced risk of cross-contamination. Nevertheless, growth will decelerate from rates achieved during the 2004 to 2009 period due to increasing market maturity and a shift in preferences to more environmentally friendly consumer goods and cleaning methods. In response to the "green" trend, wipes manufacturers will continue to develop more environmentally friendly products, such as those that are biodegradable.
Convenience, consumer acceptance and innovation will remain driving forces in the consumer market, with household cleaning, hand and body, and a number of other, small volume consumer wipes projected to register the strongest gains. Growth in household care wipes, such as general purpose disinfectant wipes, will be propelled by the appeal of one-step, disposable wipes that provide a quick and convenient format for household cleaning chores. These wipes also offer a fast and easy cleaning alternative for consumers with little free time. Hand and body wipes, such as bathroom hygiene and general purpose bathing, will enjoy increased market penetration. For example, the concept of wet bathroom tissue as part of a standard bathroom routine is gaining acceptance. General purpose bathing wipes are also gaining acceptance among individuals who are bedridden or find it difficult to enter and exit a bathtub. Nevertheless, baby wipes will remain the top selling type of consumer wipe. Demand for baby wipes will continue to suffer due to market maturity, as well as continued replacement by newer, task-specific wipes in non-diaper applications, where baby wipes once enjoyed considerable popularity.
Manufacturing and healthcare wipes will remain the largest industrial wipes segments, according to the report. After suffering from slower sales during the recession that began in December 2007, the industrial wipes market will benefit from a rebound in manufacturing activity through 2014. As such, wipes geared towards the manufacturing market are projected to achieve the most rapid gains through the forecast period. In addition to a more favorable economic climate, demand for industrial wipes will benefit from new product innovations and expanding applications. Among industrial wipes, manufacturing and healthcare types will remain the largest segments, with special purpose products such as clean room and surface preparation wipes and personal bathing wipes projected to see the fastest growth.
Advances for the chemicals that saturate or are deposited into wipes will derive from the increasing diversity of chemical formulations adapted to a wipes format as companies seek to take advantage of the strong consumer interest generated by these convenient, and relatively new, products. Surfactants will experience the fastest gains, resulting from an ongoing shift away from solvent formulations. Furthermore, surfactants offering biocidal properties will drive overall value gains due to increasing concerns regarding bacterial contamination in industrial and consumer applications.