Competitor Strategies in Tissue and Hygiene

September 2022

The combined effect of rising regional competition, lingering supply chain disruptions and growing consumer expectation for quality, value, convenience, and personal and planetary wellbeing will further shape retail tissue and disposable hygiene business strategy, from supply chain resilience construction to geographical expansion, efficacy-forward product positioning, portfolio diversification, and cross-industry collaboration to accelerate sustainability progress, as explored in this report.

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Key Findings

Leading multinationals continue ceding share to smaller players over market proximity and agility

While the top global players remain in the lead with established brand equity, their dominance is gradually challenged by more agile regional and local players in especially fragmented developing APAC and MEA markets. Such competition has accelerated top players’ geographical expansion, portfolio segmentation and cross-industry diversification.

Supply chain resilience a linchpin to competitiveness

Supply-demand imbalance, worsened by global events such as the war in Ukraine and China’s restrictions under its zero-COVID policy, continues weighing on businesses’ supply chains and balance sheets, accelerating investment in supply chain resilience, especially through manufacturing localisation, supplier diversification and automation.

Tangible and trustworthy health benefits, when well communicated, lead value creation

As consumers take a more simplified yet deliberately conscious approach to personal care, companies are increasingly focused on value creation by harnessing the power of tangible functional benefits in product development and brand communications.

Holistic positioning and digitalisation strengthen value creation

The growing consumer awareness of personal wellness that encompasses skin, body and mind has accelerated value creation through holistic positioning and digitalisation in especially the retail hygiene industry, with the former bringing consumers more self-care options across adjacent need states and the latter providing a more individualised shopping and care experience.

Sustainability initiatives delivering tangible results top of agenda

Growing consumer demand for purposeful living and environmental stewardship will continue shaping competitive strategy. To align key sustainability objectives with consumers’ value perception and businesses’ financial agenda, companies are increasingly focused on green features communicating visible and tangible consequences.

Scope
Key findings
Market leader board at a glance
State of leader board holds, with disposable hygiene driving bulk of combined sales
Procter & Gamble leads in active category share
Portfolio diversification helps sustain top players’ market leadership
Adjacencies reinforce corporate resilience and inform long-term business positioning
Essity: Consumers’ need states inform portfolio building towards holistic care
Lifestyle-driven holistic thinking is prominently reflected in insurgents’ moves
Expansion into developing world also charges leading players’ long-term strategy
Daio Paper: Proximity to end market and targeted premiumisation aid local expansion
Smaller players hold ground in most fragmented developing APAC and MEA regions
Inflation, worsened by supply chain hiccups, remains key competitive strategy consideration
Private label fares well in WE and NA due in large to accessibility
Clearwater Paper: Growing price sensitivity accelerates consumers’ shift to private label
Supply chain resilience lays foundation for especially multinationals’ competitive strategy
Manufacturing localisation enhances responsiveness to local hygiene demand
CMPC/ Softys : Local tissue manufacturing network expansion via acquisitions
Kruger Products: Tissue production efficiency gain via artificial intelligence integration
Kimberly-Clark USA: SKU prioritisation for logistical efficiency
With no immediate relief on cost pressure, value creation underpins long-term growth
Expectations for simplicity, quality and purpose underpins value creation strategy
Four key tissue and hygiene suppliers’ approaches to value creation
Unicharm: Organic cotton-based baby wipes with certified assurance for health
Empresas and Kruger: Comfort and performance underpin premium tissue launches
Kimberly-Clark: Ultra-thin and hybrid formats help further address lifestyle needs
Essity : Smart tech guides incontinence care based on end-users’ needs
Ontex: Subscription service tackles health stigma and selection fatigue
LOLA: Holistic positioning targets expanded need states, with more room for personalisation
Sustainability remains a multi-faceted journey
Kruger Products: A green shift for tissues requires supply chain reassessment
Essity : Drive circularity through alternative sourcing, green manufacturing and partnerships
Tesco: “Real estate” rationing offers another iteration to sustainable packaging
Daio Paper: Pet care buy marries revenue stream diversification and waste regeneration
Key takeaways

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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