Retail tissue is expected to increase in current value terms over the forecast period, largely due to the rising unit prices of tissue products. The price of wood pulp has been on a steady rise since late 2016, driven by growth in demand from China, which the market could not deliver.
The steady rise of unit prices in retail tissue due to the unstable market conditions is leading many consumers in the UK to move away from premium brands towards private label, such as Tesco’s own lines, which held the largest volume share in retail tissue in 2018. A pricing battle is likely to begin in the UK, as manufacturers begin to work for lower profit margins to attract customers to their products and remain competitive in the market.
Facial tissues is set to record the strongest current value growth within retail tissue over the forecast period in both current value and volume terms. Major manufacturers of facial tissues raised prices around the world during 2018, such as Kimberly-Clark with its Kleenex brand, the price of which increased by 2%.
Private label witnessed a strong lead in both volume and value terms in retail tissue over recent years. Consumers have been dropping premium brands for more affordable products, and the recent increases in unit prices because of the market conditions supported this move.
Although pricing is becoming very important for UK consumers, sustainability concerns are also on the rise in paper-based products. Several sustainable products have found their way into the market using alternatives to wood pulp, which also means that at a time when most manufacturers are being forced to raise prices, prices of alternative products are able to remain more stable, although they do tend to have higher unit prices in the first place.
Kimberly-Clark Holding was the leading branded player in the UK in retail tissue in 2018; however, it lost ground to private label manufacturers over recent years, which led it to attempt the sale of its European tissue business in 2018, as way to exit a less profitable business. Although it did spark interest, the US-based company decided not to go ahead with the sale of its European tissue business when the anticipated price tag of USD1.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Tissue and Hygiene market research database.