Sanitary protection in Asia Pacific has been growing the fastest globally due to rising disposable incomes, better product access and product innovation. The segment is expected to continue to grow given the substantial unmet growth potential in markets such as India, China and Vietnam. The potential hurdles that limit this growth include slow tampon and pantyliner adoption rates, ageing populations and slow but growing demand for reusable sanitary alternatives.
As of 2018, Asia Pacific has the highest unmet potential for growth compared to other regions globally. Over 2013-2018, the region recorded the highest CAGR of 7%. Along with high consumption in mature markets such as South Korea, demand is expected to continue growing in developing markets such as India and Vietnam, where per capita consumption is still very low. Rising female workforce participation rate will outweigh the ageing population in the region which will spur growth.
While towels continue to be the preferred format purchased by consumers, tampons is witnessing the most dynamic growth in the region, especially in East Asian markets such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. The segment grew the highest in China due to growing acceptance for tampons and more availability from domestic brands.
There is a small but growing number of players selling reusable sanitary protection products such as the Diva cup; there are also local players such as Freedom Cups based in Singapore entering the space. While they are unlikely to erode market share from incumbent players such as Procter & Gamble, their entry is welcomed by consumers who demand more sustainable and environmentally-friendly products. Manufacturers must innovate their product portfolios to include more biodegradable options.
Partnerships between leading sanitary protection players and retailers, and the establishment of flagship online stores on B2C platforms such as JD.com have resulted in the expansion of e-commerce retailing in East Asian markets such as China. In Southeast Asia, Lazada’s acquisition of Redmart has intensified competition with Shopee resulting in frequent promotions for consumers.
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