Global Feminine Care: Strategies in Value Creation

July 2021

Sanitary protection is seeing growth globally, with developing markets accounting for the lion’s share of untapped potential and growth momentum. The performance is shaped by socioeconomic, demographic and lifestyle trends, as well as improvements in ingredients, branding and public education. This report explores influential trends in sanitary protection, consumer behaviour, competitive dynamics, the retail landscape and the ripple effect from insurgent brands and alternative product formats.

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Key findings

Growing awareness and economic recovery augment growth, while contraception and alternative formats cast challenges

Developing countries continue leading sanitary protection growth, with the slim/thin/ultra-thin format generating the strongest momentum, while tampons and pantyliners navigate a more dynamic global battleground. With shifting lifestyles and growing awareness and income encouraging category spending and consumption, reusable formats continue imposing competitive pressure.

Price sensitivity propels supply chain optimisation and value communications to justify premiumisation

As financial uncertainty and price inflation drive consumers to constantly balance quality and value, companies looking for premiumisation opportunities are expected to reassess the supply chain for cost reductions and further articulate value propositions that resonate well with the core millennial and gen Z audience.

Greater emphasis on conscience, simplicity and transparency shapes brand communications

As COVID-19 has strengthened consumers’ desire to understand product ingredients and make positive changes through their everyday actions, more companies are investing in labels and marketing campaigns that endorse efforts to align with such priorities and values.

Demand for products promoting holistic care drives brand identity shift and portfolio diversification

Taking ownership of their wellbeing, millennials and gen Z have healthy instincts and are aware of how their choices impact their health. As COVID-19 has heightened this focus on long-term implications, they are looking to brands for holistic solutions and alternative services to support their wellbeing.

An omnichannel strategy combining digital agility and connectivity with in-store serendipity and immediacy leads long-term growth

Millennials and gen Z expect brands to anticipate their needs and desires, based on both their purchase history and them as individuals, fuelling brands’ investment in digital engagement. However, as economic activity resumes, consumers expect physical retail, the core shopping destination for feminine care products, to provide a shopping experience as fluid as the one online.


Key findings

State of The Category

Developing markets drive growth, due in part to lifestyle shifts
Speed of recovery influences spending potential and value growth
India generates the lion’s share of future consumption gains
Towels generates the bulk of growth, led by slim/thin format
Price sensitivity and pants format support rise of standard towels
Tampons builds momentum where awareness prevails
Pantyliners rides on affordability and availability
Hybrid products rise to address single-format shortcomings
Reusable formats continue weighing on disposables
Despite small footprint, reusables carve out a growing niche
Growth ahead: gradual return to pre-pandemic growth momentum

Path to Value Creation

As COVID-19 dampens income and widens inequality among the young…
…consumers place an increased emphasis on value-centric offerings
Manufacturers strive for price competitiveness via localisation …
…while rebalancing affordability and quality
Private label inches forward by democratising affordable premium
Young activists bring purpose-led branding into sharper focus
Clean and ethical labels resonate with health- and eco-centred mindset
Income and awareness define consumer readiness for premiumisation
Insurgents take the spotlight in the growing sustainable trend
Ingredient improvements fuel new product launches
Circularity gains weight in the sustainability equation
Destigmatisation and inclusivity set the tone for brand communications
Changing perceptions begins with changing conversations
Emphasis on holistic self-care reshapes brands’ priorities
Multifunctionality tackles more feminine care needs with less
Diversification considers wider female wellness fronts

Channel Dynamic

E-commerce boom exhibits uneven strength across the globe
Key markets for tissue and hygiene e-commerce growth potential
Digital world offers a versatile medium for engagement
Agility and fluidity across platforms helps elevate brand exposure
Personalisation forms pinnacle of sanitary hygiene management
Shoppable quizzes and on-demand delivery facilitate path to purchase
Store presence remains key to brands’ success

Strategic Recommendations

Strategic recommendations


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