Retail demand for toilet paper and boxed facial tissue linked to home seclusion or at-home cooking as a result of the pandemic saw solid growth in 2020, a trend that is set to weaken over 2021 as demand cools and returns to normal levels with the effective containment of the virus in China. As boxed facial tissues continue to penetrate low-tier cities and rural markets and gradually replace toilet paper, which has hitherto been used for multiple purposes, including facial cleaning, the growth of toilet paper has been slowing down.
The pandemic boosted more frequent at-home cooking, especially trying to cook Western pastry products, in 2020, which helped to bolster the robust growth of paper towels. The demand for this category’s products continues to surge, with usage scenarios expanded from simple cleaning to diversified ones, including food drying, grease removal and baking.
Hengan Fujian remained the leading player in retail tissue in volume terms in 2021, but lost the lead in value terms to Vinda International. Hengan Fujian’s share was negatively impacted by a continued hard hit to its offline sales and the persistent price competition in retail tissue, which is affecting value sales.
Consumers’ health awareness is rapidly improving, with the high degree of concern about their own health and safety gradually being reflected in the retail tissue purchasing behaviour. High-quality paper products with healthy, safe, natural and eco-friendly ingredients or product claims and positionings will continue to be favoured by consumers, especially the younger segment.
The increase in the supply of boxed facial tissues and paper towels in AFH channels as well as the popularity of small packs of boxed facial tissues were already dampening the demand for pocket handkerchiefs prior to the pandemic. The rapid popularisation of wipes that contain 75% alcohol and other antibacterial ingredients thanks to COVID-19 are expected to further contribute to the weakening performance of pocket handkerchiefs over the forecast period.
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This report originates from Passport, our Retail Tissue research and analysis database.
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