The global AFH market saw a weak performance during 2020 and 2021. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced consumers to stay in their homes and reduce the use of public places. However, a global recovery in AFH demand is looming, although its pace will depend on the state of the pandemic. The recovery brings opportunities as well as challenges, including those that will accelerate the shifts affecting the AFH market pre-COVID-19, such as the use of robotics in some sectors of the economy.
A global recovery of AFH demand hinges on consumers’ financial confidence and the health of the foodservice and hospitality industries, which are largely at the mercy of the state of virus control and any future global shocks due to new variants. In an uncertain environment, wipers (especially nonwovens) offer a great growth potential, given their cleaning and disinfecting efficiencies
Hygiene vigilance is fuelling tissue consumption and quality expectations across the globe, leading to new products with better cleaning properties and an improved user experience. Rising disposable incomes, urbanisation and a health-centric lifestyle shift in emerging markets will present significant opportunities for greater away-from-home tissue penetration.
Pandemic-accelerated structural shifts, such as remote working, e-learning and food delivery, will recast the away-from-home landscape, and, depending on the extent and duration of these shifts as the pandemic develops, will weigh on AFH tissue demand in at least the short term.
As new technologies emerge to fill in gaps in the new touch-free, efficiency-hungry economy, tissue needs may slide, due to the lack of human presence. However, high-tech machines and devices also generate new applications for specialised, electronics-friendly wipes.
Rising dedication to more eco-friendly lifestyles and increasingly stringent regulatory moves have brought eco concerns further into the spotlight, forcing another sustainability reckoning. While AFH products are not subject to the same degree of scrutiny confronting the retail market, a wave of green movements are already shifting the AFH landscape.
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