COVID-19 had little effect on any sanitary protection category in 2020 as these products are considered essentials. The impact of stockpiling, due to women’s fears about running out of sanitary protection products or unwillingness to visit retail stores, occurred for a short time in 2020, with sales normalising quickly as there was little opportunity for increased product usage.
Pantyliners continued to decline due to intense competition from the expanding range of mini-sized towels in the market. The launch of mini-sized towels by all the leading manufacturers over the review period had an immediate impact on pantyliners and drove down demand.
Shanghai Uni-Charm Co Ltd led in 2020 followed by Hengan Fujian Holding Co Ltd. Hengan experienced a decline in share during the year, largely as a result of its reliance on store-based retailing, with consumers avoiding stores as much as possible during the height of the pandemic.
While sanitary protection is set to remain relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, increased discussion of issues surrounding menstruation on social media is likely to erode the stigma around the subject and create a more open environment for manufacturers to develop and market products. Social media discussion was stimulated by awareness of the plight of female health workers trying to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak while experiencing their periods amidst a shortage of sanitary protection products in 2020.
Given that sanitary protection is a developed and fairly mature category in China, opportunities for growth over the forecast period are set to be in value rather than volume sales. As a result, premiumisation is expected to sustain category growth.
New product development in sanitary protection will increasingly embrace premiumisation. Key trends are expected to include the use of new natural additives/ingredients, such as shea butter, which is claimed to provide skin care benefits.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Sanitary Protection industry in China with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Sanitary Protection research and analysis database.
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