Retail tissue experienced unusually strong growth in 2020, as lockdown restrictions were implemented by South Africa’s government to control the spread of the pandemic, forcing local consumers to stay at home for prolonged periods of time. As a result, retail sales of toilet paper, paper towels and similar products witnessed unprecedented demand due to home seclusion.
Retail tissue continued to be led in value share terms by Kimberly-Clark and Twinsaver Group in 2021, two giants in the South African tissue industry. Kimberly-Clark retained its overall leadership across the review period with its Baby Soft brand, while Twinsaver drives volume sales in the 1-ply segment of the category.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire nation was forced to stay at home, and offices remained empty for months on end, boosting retail sales of toilet paper. Furthermore, restaurants were forced to temporarily close their doors to contain the spread of the virus, which meant that consumers had to prepare all meals at home.
Retail tissue is predicted to record further strong demand over the forecast period, while value growth (at constant 2021 prices) is expected to be marginally higher compared to the review period. This trend will be attributed to evolving consumer habits that were formed during the pandemic.
As a result of the rapid global shift towards remote working, at least for white-collar workers who can fulfil their daily work at home, toilet paper received the strongest boost of all retail tissue products. This is because South Africans used their own bathrooms more frequently during business hours, whereas they would previously have used workplace toilets.
Despite being an established, and relatively commoditised category, several growth opportunities exist within retail tissue that manufacturers are expected to harness going forward. Firstly, private label recorded significant growth over the review period, as consumers’ incomes came under increasing pressure, encouraging consumers to purchase more affordable alternatives to branded products.
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This report originates from Passport, our Retail Tissue research and analysis database.
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