According to Euromonitor, the global baby diapers market was valued at $43.38 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a moderate rate of 3.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, reaching an estimated $51.53 billion by 2024.
Svetlana Uduslivaia, head of household and technology at Euromonitor North America, said the fastest-growing regional markets are currently concentrated in Asia and Africa. The world’s two most populous countries (China and India) will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively, by 2024. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected to be the fastest-growing baby diaper markets in Southeast Asia, growing at a CAGR of 11.8%, 5.9%, and 8.4%, respectively, over the period. In Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are expected to witness the fastest growth over the next five years, with a CAGR of 2.9% and 13.3%, respectively.
Asia, Africa to grow faster
Sales of baby diapers will continue to grow at double-digit rates in several emerging countries in Asia, such as India. Growth is also accelerating in Africa. New baby diaper plants are being set up in the most developed parts of northern and southern Africa, but also in the less developed central parts of the continent. Better growth rates are seen in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and some Latin American countries.”
The growth opportunities in today’s disposable diaper market are primarily in Africa and in rural areas of Asia. In these markets, the biggest issues may be affordability, whether there is steady economic growth that dares consumers to raise their standard of living and remain optimistic, and whether they live in a safe environment.
In these areas, the main positive impact has been the Internet. “The Internet really helps consumers understand products and their benefits, and leading brands are doing a great job of communicating with consumers,” Hanna says, “Growth opportunities in developing markets are changing as consumers become more aware of the benefits and features of quality diapers. Even lower-income consumers are making purchasing decisions that are better for their babies and how to allocate their limited incomes. Once they start experimenting with high-quality disposable diapers, they typically become loyal fans of the brand as long as their income grows steadily.” Pricie Hanna, managing partner of Price Hanna Consultants, said.
Meanwhile, growth is expected to be much lower in more developed regions due to having lower birth rates.
The market for disposable baby diapers has been struggling in most mature markets, not only because people continue to use fewer hours of diapers per day, but also because of record low birth rates. in 2019, the U.S. will see its fourth consecutive year of declining birth rates.”
The Impact in Asia
Asia’s influence in the baby diaper market cannot be underestimated. Over the past decade, trends such as soft, breathable materials and ultra-high-end segments have started to emerge globally.
In China, concerns about product safety in the past have prompted parents to buy high-quality imported diapers. These diapers are of high quality and are very soft and have a better fit, especially as Chinese consumers’ preference for “Made in Japan” has prompted some Japanese manufacturers, such as Unicharm, to expand production capacity.
Baby diaper maker Kimberly-Clark has had success in China’s premium diaper market. CEO Mike Hsu reported double-digit sales growth in both diapers and feminine care products in the third quarter of 2019, while the net price of diapers benefited from reduced promotional spending and more targeted marketing. In particular, he cited strong growth driven by innovation in premium curiosity diapers, of which 5D core diapers are a good example.
Another growing market segment originating in Asia is pant diapers. The trend towards pant diapers continues to be more pronounced in Asia than in other regions.
Unika’s success in starting the production of pant diapers in Indonesia and India was exciting because they realized that pant products are more convenient in hot climates, and their affordable pant products in both countries have been very successful and have managed to reverse the consumer perception that pant diapers are more expensive and are mainly intended for use in mature Western markets. “
Interestingly, even Kimberly has opted to use Asian styles in all of its new trouser introductions, such as the recent launches in Mexico and most of Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, India, Korea and China). There are virtually no traditional open diaper products in India and over 95% of the market sales have been replaced by trouser styles, from newborn sizes to extra-large sizes.”