Retail tissue in Bolivia saw significant growth in current value terms in 2020, as products in this category were amongst the most sought-after products during the initial panic buying stages of the pandemic, leading to stock shortages across many major retailers. Toilet paper, paper towels, boxed facial tissues and pocket handkerchiefs are viewed as essential products, and many consumers were concerned about maintaining sufficient supplies during self-isolation and possible stock shortages.
Local brand Nacional from Copelme SA retained its position as the industry leader in toilet paper, recording higher sales growth than imported brands. Copelme also produces the Excelsior brand, which remained a minor player within retail tissue but consolidated its share in 2020.
Over the last decade, water availability and sanitary facilities have improved in Bolivia. According to official data, around 71% of households had these services in 2007, with this percentage rising to 83% in 2017.
Toilet paper is expected to continue growing in both current retail value and volume terms across the forecast period, driven by high population growth and higher levels of penetration in rural areas.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic boosted sales of retail tissue in 2020, a stronger focus on hygiene and preventative health is likely to persist across the forecast period. Nevertheless, this is already a mature product area with few prospects for longer-term growth in volume sales.
As local manufacturing companies such as Copelme SA and Papelera Vinto SRL make significant investments in technological improvements, these brands will likely continue to gain share in the coming years. In addition, logistical advantages, lower cost structures and no import taxes will enable them to implement aggressive pricing strategies and compete effectively with non-domestic players, since Bolivians will remain price-sensitive for the foreseeable future as the local economy struggles to recover.
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This report originates from Passport, our Retail Tissue research and analysis database.
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