A Clean Evolution: Redefining Value and Priorities in Disposable Wet Wipes

September 2023

The disposable wet wipes space is undergoing a clean evolution, as approaches to cleaning evolve against the backdrop of inflation, urbanisation and pandemic-led wellness reinforcement. This report examines the growth dynamics and competitive landscape challenges in disposable wet wipes, as well as the opportunities and challenges across the three key pillars of the clean evolution shaping wipes – convenience, wellness and sustainability.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Evolving hygiene routines and lifestyle choices drive the attractiveness of wipes

Driven by convenience, increased segmentation and competition among brands, wipes will continue to appeal to cash-rich, time-poor urban consumers in a number of core developed markets. In the low-penetration developing world, shifting hygiene routines and growing awareness will encourage consumers to expand and diversify choices.

Rise of disruptors resonates with health vigilance and a shift to more pampering care routines

A shift towards gentler and healthier cleaning applications, and a penchant for more immersive and pampering beauty and personal care regimens, coupled with the push of popular personalities for greener cleaning routines, will support the growth of a slew of non-disposable alternatives, posing potential long-term challenges for disposable wet wipes.

Trendy innovations reflect heightened demand for occasion-driven, clean wellness

Perceptions of hygiene have moved beyond cleanliness to encompass intrinsic motivations, benefiting value creation in wet wipes, which, up until recently, had been focused on social occasions and preventative care. As increasingly manifested in growing plant-based, skin-focused product formulations and brand narratives, wellness claims in wipes are expanding and diversifying to include microbiome health, energy boosting and mood enhancement.

Cost sensitivity drives value and quality hybridity, reinforcing multifunctionality

A growing drive for convenience, cleanliness and value for money, building on inflation-reinforced price sensitivity, further supports product positioning to reinforce a tangible product cost-benefit ratio and product mileage, including cleaning potency and wet strength, as well as other care objectives post-cleansing, such as skin exfoliation and perspiration control.

The anti-plastics movement accelerates alternative sourcing and end-of-life circularity renaissance

Sustainable features remain at the core of the innovation agenda, with alternative fibre sourcing at the forefront. Flushability is a focus of public and regulatory scrutiny, leading to long-term investment in new substrates and production processes. Education around tangible health benefits, and performance linked to green ingredients are key.


Key findings
Wipes demand stays resilient due to staying health vigilance despite transient setback
Rising unit prices consistent albeit uneven across top wipes markets and categories
Baby and moist toilet wipes lead growth over 2021-2022
Asia Pacific’s strength driven by demographic tailwinds will drive strong forecast gains
Urbanisation-induced lifestyle changes and income growth remain wipes’ top growth drivers
Low per capita potential and population base underpin developing unmet potential
Entrenched hygiene radar sustains sanitising and home care wipes per capita usage
Baby wipes’ prospects notable in developing Asia Pacific
Non-toxic, antibacterial and clean claims drive growth in top Asia Pacific developing markets
Cross-category expansion and partnerships stimulate Brazil’s category variety and growth
Moist toilet wipes remains developed world-centric, but China is rapidly catching up
Top-growth China market to witness a bathroom renaissance
Plastics concerns and flushability scrutiny pose challenges to moist toilet wipes’ expansion
Function and audience diversification help boost wipes’ role in toilet hygiene routine
Return of social occasions and value-add lend strength to cosmetic wipes
Cosmetic routine shifts push the skin care positioning further to the front
Skin concerns inform ingredient-led, targeted functional innovations
Popularity of alternative facial cleansing formats can dilute facial wipes consumption
Bargain and quality balancing helps navigate sweet spot in purchase decisions
Interest in health and personalised care regimens favour personal care wipes alternatives
Rising interest in microbial home cleaning runs up against wipes-associated health concerns
Habit persistence helps drive future wipes growth, while pricing has a negative effect
E-commerce expansion offers growth opportunities for wipes
Digital purchase models and promotions elevate wipes’ accessibility
Despite stable ranking on the top, wipes remains a fragmented market
Penetration in China presages Essity’s and Hengan’s global share growth
Digital-first influencer marketing helps smaller players pivot in high-growth niche segment
Category fragmentation most apparent in e-commerce-heavy regions and baby wipes
E-commerce provides a hotspot for smaller niche entrants and white spaces for leaders
Seeking the right digital retail partnership builds overall competitive momentum
Amazon seizes leadership in multiple markets, though local grocers and generalists emerge
Private label shows diverging performance
Search for value in simplicity benefits wipes
Wellness positioning as a key simplicity manifestation, as health perception broadens
Trending claims in wipes indicate a shift towards plant-based and end-of-life circularity
Leading claims across wipe reveal varied wellness priorities
Three shades of clean: Key pillars of value building in disposable wet wipes
Occasion-adaptive self care regimen drives ritualized, holistic branding and portfolio building
Multifunction fortifies value positioning, with diagnostic a potential new innovation frontier
Skin health remains a key priority inspiring ingredient-led value creation across wipes
Microbiome health supports wellness positioning
Fragrance and flavour fortified with botanicals extend to mental wellbeing
Regulatory environment will place more pressure on ingredient transparency ?
Waste and carbon reduction trend accelerates green positioning
Regulatory directives guide green actions
To flush or not to flush, that is the question shaping an uneven green evolution
Green actions in wipes inspire sustainable packaging by sheet mask players
Key findings
A clean evolution: How to win

Tissue and Hygiene

This is the aggregation of retail and away-from home tissue and disposable hygiene products as well as Rx/reimbursement adult incontinence.

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