The story of Q2 2021 for tissue and hygiene is the return of optimism. Disruption brought by the pandemic appears to be giving way to greater predictability and less radical swings in growth related to consumer circumstances and economic disruption. Although it is not accurate to say we are out of the woods in relation to the pandemic we do appear to be closer to emerging from them, although the example from India suggests there will inevitably be further localised disruption to come.
As expected, Q2 2021 is still a story of pandemic as the world moves through the multiple and evolving challenges presented. Tissue and hygiene although possessing a great amount of commonality both present significantly different responses to the circumstances presented in this quarter; tissue still digesting a glut of consumption in 2020, while hygiene benefits from a tentative return to something approaching previous norms as populations (at least locally) become more mobile.
Q2 2021 can be viewed as a positive, if marginal, improvement on what came in Q1, as both tissue and hygiene markets showed growth outlook improvement through to 2025. Once again the pandemic is everything to do with this slightly more positive outlook; immunisation, although favouring the developed world, continues to have its impact as well as government economic intervention which suggests the worst of job losses and recession continue to be mitigated, at least for now.
Looking at geographies, two stand out as being particularly robust in the Q2 update. The US economy looks to have responded well to stimulus and the steady hand of the Biden administration. Tissue and hygiene forecasts have responded accordingly. A similar story is seen in Vietnam where a return to pre-pandemic rapid rates of growth appears just over the horizon as a result of the country appearing to have negotiated COVID-19 without incurring significant economic damage.
The story of Q2 2021 for tissue and hygiene products is greater reliability and confidence. Kimberly-Clark’s acquisition of Softex in Indonesia went ahead in late 2020 in spite of global events. This is indicative of robustness, particularly in hygiene where although there has been short-term disruption, growth is set to return, and the long-term prognosis is markets will make up lost sales and see further category development in the likes of nappies/diapers but these sales will be long term not short.
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