Adult Incontinence in North America

June 2018

Although North America is already the second-largest market in terms of retail value sales for adult incontinence, the region still offers significant growth opportunities, due to favourable demographic conditions and changing consumer perceptions. The industry has seen significant investments in marketing and product development. However, due to the growth opportunities, the industry is vulnerable to increased competition, which is expected to drive down prices and negatively impact profits.

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Favourable demographic trends driving growth

The ageing population in North America has been a significant driver of growth in the region. As the 65+ age segment is expected to grow over the next several years at a faster rate than the general population, the outlook for the adult incontinence market is positive.

Improvements in messaging and product development help remove the stigma associated with incontinence

The past few years have seen more targeted advertising to younger consumers, and messaging that shows how those of all ages can suffer from incontinence. Manufacturers have also increased investment in product development, offering products that are thinner and more discreet. Offerings that are more stylish and appear less medical have helped normalise the category.

Rise of e-commerce

Internet retailing was the fastest growing channel for sales of adult incontinence in North America over 2012-2017. As a higher share of sales in adult incontinence migrate to online channels, there is a chance that this could negatively impact value sales, as online shopping allows easier price comparison, and many online purchases are made via wholesalers offering low-priced options to purchase in bulk.

Competition fosters high level of innovation, but creates pricing pressures that limit future value growth

Due to the high growth prospects, especially compared with other, slower-growing tissue and hygiene products, the adult incontinence market in North America has attracted additional competitors, and this is expected to continue. Although the increased competition has a positive impact on product innovation, it also creates challenges for future value growth, as brands use price cuts and promotions to cut out their competitors. However, the opportunity for premium innovation and offering value-added benefits (e.g. discretion, comfort) does allow for a more premium price point.


Key findings


Putting North America into context
High growth rates continue due to ageing population and normalisation

Regional Overview

Moderate/heavy adult incontinence dominates in market size
Both moderate/heavy and light incontinence experience high growth
US as main driver of region’s growth
Demographics and lifestyle trends
Sales through pharmacies dominate Canadian landscape…
… while e-commerce grows rapidly in both the US and Canada
Sales volume through retail channel growing faster than AFH and Rx


Private label poised to grow in consolidated market
P&G grows quickly, though Kimberly-Clark maintains majority of sales

Leading Companies and Brands

Essity’s Tena loses share as P&G’s Always brand climbs the rankings
2-in-1: period and bladder control

Forecast Projections

Growth in forecast not expected to slow down
Favourable demographic trends will continue to entice new entrants
Significant unmet potential
Future performance: habit persistence and product availability


US: market context
US: competitive and retail landscape
Canada: market context
Canada: competitive and retail landscape


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