Demand for wipes in the U.S. is forecast to increase 3.9% per annum to $2.3 billion in 2013, according to a new report from The Freedonia Group. 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 the rates achieved during the 2003– 2008 period due to slower economic growth, increasing market maturity and a shift in preferences to more environmentally friendly consumer goods and cleaning methods.
Convenience 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 growth. Though baby wipes will remain the top selling type of wipe, demand for these products will continue to suffer due to market maturity and continued replacement by newer, task-specific wipes in nondiaper applications where baby wipes once enjoyed considerable popularity.Wipes that do not provide the cost and convenience benefits demanded by consumers are expected to drop out of the market.
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, wipe 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.