Demand for nappies/diapers/pants continued to decline in Bulgaria, in line with pre-pandemic trends due to the country’s declining birth rate. However, this was further compounded by the emergence of COVID-19, with Bulgaria's lowest birth rate recorded for a number of years in 2020.
The competitive landscape of nappies/diapers/pants was dominated by Pampers from Procter & Gamble in value share terms in 2021, followed by Pufies and Molfix (Hayat Bulgaria Chemical OOD). All three brands enjoyed regular above-the-line activities towards the end of the review period, and advertised their products on television and social media platforms such as their official YouTube channels.
While modern grocery retailers (driven by hypermarkets) and health and beauty specialist retailers dominate value sales of nappies/diapers/pants in Bulgaria, e-commerce, a distribution channel that traditionally holds its highest share in the category compared to tissue and hygiene overall, gained further ground and growth momentum in 2021. Demand for nappies/diapers/pants significantly increased via e-commerce in 2020 during pandemic-induced lockdowns, with parents concerned about exposure to the virus.
In line with review period trends, sales of disposable pants are predicted to continue growing based on convenience, quality improvement and innovation factors, while overall demand for nappies/diapers is expected to further slowly decline for much of the forecast period. This reflects the low birth rate in Bulgaria caused by political, economic and health uncertainty in the country.
The considerable price growth noted in 2021 is predicted to gradually slow over the course of the forecast period, with further expected price promotions and the greater penetration of grocery retail chains and drugstores expanding their private label lines such as Lidl's Lupilu and dm’s BabyLove. In 2022, dm plans to open a further seven stores to its network to reach 100 outlets, while Lidl plans to open five new stores, encouraged by strong sales throughout the pandemic and increasing price sensitivity.
In addition to the leading criteria when choosing a brand, such as the sensitivity of the baby's skin, the absorbency of nappies/diaper/pants, comfort, and price, an increasing number of parents are beginning to take a greater interest in the impact that their purchasing decisions can have on the environment, particularly nappies/diapers/pants, which due to their size and need for frequent changing, are a significant contributor to household waste. This is leading to players developing more environmentally-friendly options such dm’s BabyLove Nature Eco series, made from natural biodegradable raw materials such as organic cotton, bleached without chlorine, and fragrance and chemical free.
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