The decline in the female population aged between 12 and 54 due to falling birth rates is directly impacting volume sales of sanitary protection in Japan. Pantyliners is the only category expected to avoid volume decline over the forecast period, as low consumer awareness of these products provides room for growth.
Increasing consumer awareness of light incontinence products and a related reduction in the stigma associated with them are also playing a part in the decline in overall sanitary protection. Some female consumers used to use sanitary protection to deal with incontinence because of a lack of awareness of light incontinence products or embarrassment about purchasing them.
In response to the contraction of the consumer base, manufacturers are placing a growing focus on generating value through the development of products with added-value features. Softness, comfort and discretion are amongst the key features with which manufacturers are looking to generate added-value, with developing products for specific usage occasions and types of clothing also becoming more common.
Unicharm remained the dominant player in sanitary protection in Japan in 2018. The market leader is the only company with a product range spanning every sanitary protection category, which helps it ensure shelf space and raise brand-awareness and loyalty.
Procter & Gamble Japan terminated sales of Whisper in 2018, which led to changes in brand rankings, especially in towels. Following its launch in 1986, Whisper quickly became one of the best-known sanitary protection brands in Japan.
Consumers are strongly focused on quality in sanitary protection, with a relatively minor emphasis on price. As a result, the private label segment remains a negligible presence in the category.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Tissue and Hygiene market research database.