A large proportion of Australian workers – major exceptions being those in the essential services and manufacturing – were required to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that activities that would otherwise have taken place in the workplace, took place within the confines of the home, and consumption that would previously have been tracked within the AFH channel transferred to retail.
With Australians spending far less time outside the home in 2020 and 2021, and with far fewer face-to-face social interactions, colds, flu and runny noses became less common. Cases of influenza, for example, virtually disappeared as soon as the first lockdown of 2020 was announced, and have rarely been seen since.
Green (or eco) tissue products have always struggled in Australia, as the category has long competed almost solely on softness properties, which recycled tissue products such as toilet paper have typically been perceived as being unable to offer. Brands such as iCare by Encore and Naturale by ABC Tissue have struggled to gain more than a couple of percentage points of value share.
How Australians will react to their post-pandemic freedoms – whether they will return to work, to foodservice, to bricks-and-mortar retail, or whether they will continue to nest at home and shop online – is one of the great unknowns. The most likely scenario is that those consumers who have been working from home will return to the office at least a couple of days a week, thereby transferring some of the demand for retail tissue, particularly toilet paper, back towards the AFH channel.
Eco brands, which have long been only niche products in Australia, made significant gains in 2020 and 2021, at least partly due to consumers’ simultaneous embrace of e-commerce. Brands that adopted an online subscription model, such as Who Gives A Crap? performed particularly well, as consumers were home to receive deliveries.
Whilst demand for retail toilet paper will remain high, as many Australians continue to work and otherwise spend more time at home, one countering trend might soften demand. The toilet paper shortage during the pandemic – or at least the fear of toilet paper shortages – inspired many households to install a bidet.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Retail Tissue industry in Australia with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
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This report originates from Passport, our Retail Tissue research and analysis database.
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