Personal Wipes in North America

July 2018

With USD3 billion in sales in 2017, the personal wipes market in North America leads all other regions. However, growth is expected to slow as the market matures and competition heats up. Major industry players are experiencing pressure from smaller brands, private label, and e-commerce. Though baby wipes account for the majority of sales, smaller categories such as cosmetic wipes and moist toilet wipes have grown faster, with significant potential for further growth.

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North America, the largest market for sales of personal wipes, is starting to see growth slow

The personal wipes market in North America was valued at nearly USD3 billion in 2017. While the market saw positive growth over the past five years, with a CAGR of 2-3%, growth is beginning to slow due to maturity and competitive pressures on prices.

Baby wipes dominate sales, but smaller categories see faster growth

Baby wipes currently accounts for over half of total sales of personal wipes in North America. However, it is a slower growing category compared with smaller categories such as cosmetic wipes and moist toilet wipes, which have seen a recent expansion in product variety and new product development.Consumers in both the US and Canada are thus increasingly adopting these formats into their daily routines.

E-commerce is becoming an increasingly important channel for sales of personal wipes

Though sales via internet retailing still represent a small share of total personal wipes distribution in North America, this channel has seen the most significant growth in recent years. With the ongoing shift in the retail landscape towards e-commerce, and the rising presence of Amazon and small direct-to-consumer companies in personal wipes, internet retailing is expected to become one of the single most important distribution channels in North America.

Smaller brands create a threat for industry leaders

P&G saw the largest loss in market share over 2012-2017. Meanwhile, smaller brands, such as The Honest Co., founded in 2011, are growing. There are many new entrants in the personal wipes space, specifically in niche segments, though not all smaller brands will survive due to profitability issues.


Key findings

Regional Overview

North America in context
Growth remains positive, though pricing challenges limit future growth
Baby wipes dominate share of personal wipes market
Niche wipes categories growing at the fastest rate
Sales of intimate wipes struggle in the region overall
Sales intimate wipes dragged down by declines in the US market
Sales of wipes through hypermarkets grow
Though still small, share of wipes sales through internet retailing explodes

Leading Companies and Brands

Canadian market much more consolidated than the US
P&G sees the most significant decline in market share
Wipes brands that are extensions from diaper category perform best

Forecast Projections

Growth in the US expected to slow down as Canadian market picks up
Positive outlook, but challenges remain
Greatest potential in baby, cosmetic, and moist toilet wipes...
…categories where growth is driven mostly by habit persistence

Country Snapshots

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


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