The Glue Talk Blog

Baby in a diaper with its nose on a soft teddy bear.

Answering Today's Most Pressing Trends in Disposable Hygiene Product Design

Posted 28 Jun 2019 by Catherine Huang, Hygiene Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific

There is increasing global consensus that Asia Pacific consumers might be the group with the highest requirements for hygiene products. One of the reasons is that Japan has set very high-quality standards for hygiene products, such as softness and low odor, and these requirements were adopted quickly by neighboring countries, including China. The growth of sales of imported, Japan-made hygiene articles in China grew by 96 percent in 2015 and has since seen steady growth in the double digits, according to Japan’s Ministry of Finance.

Driven primarily by growing demand for premium products, sales of diapers imported from Japan are estimated to reach around 20 percent share of the total Chinese market. However, fierce competition amongst multinational, regional and the hundreds of local, Chinese diaper manufacturers has increased producers’ focus on design and performance improvements that create competitive advantage. It also has led to the emergence of new sales channel opportunities, specifically in e-commerce and through WeChat, one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps and widely known as China’s “app for everything.” Additionally, for the first time in several years, the baby diaper market in China shrunk in 2018 due to fewer babies being born.

Number of new born babies in China (’000)
Number of new born babies in china 2013-2018 graph.

Number of 0-36 months’ babies in China (’000)
Number of babies 0-36 months in china 2013-2018 graph.

Source: Calculated from the data provided by National Bureau of Statistics of China

So, what are the key product trends driving disposable hygiene products manufacturing in China? Among all the product trends, softness, low odor/VOC, thinness, and breathability are predominant, followed by new trends, particularly in terms of sustainability with demand growing for recyclable and/or compostable products.

Soft NonwovensBaby and teddy bear in diapers.

Air-through and super-soft spunbond nonwoven (NW) materials have been popular in Asia, thanks to their softness. Providing both durability and softness can be challenging, but don’t worry! Our tailor made Full-Care® construction and elastic adhesives have been proven to provide strong bonds and enable super-soft NW materials.

Low Odor/VOCs

Low odor is often associated with “harmless for health,” which is a critical element of creating positive consumers perception of disposable baby diapers and feminine care products. Delighting customers is our goal, so – while adhesives are not a top contributor to a hygiene article’s odor – we are committed to decreasing VOCs and odor in our adhesive solutions. Recently, we introduced one of the lowest odor, low VOC hygiene article construction adhesives in the Asia Pacific region, leading to one of the most demanding producers in Korea to switch to H.B. Fuller.

Diaper wetness indicator from H.B. Fuller. Wetness indicators are one of the most popular disposable diaper innovations amongst consumers worldwide. We recently launched a new low-odor wetness indicator in Asia as part of our Full-Care 9500 series. This high-performance adhesive is fast changing and provides a distinctive, reliable blue color. Plus, with high humidity resistance, it virtually eliminates premature color change. Company research indicates that ours might be the only “green” wetness indicator in the Chinese market today that meets the “AOX” regulatory standard in the GB/T 35613-2017 green product assessment-paper and paper products category.

Thinner Cores

For thinness, Chinese hygiene article manufacturers are pioneers in using composite cores, while in the majority of other countries across the Asia Pacific region, fluff cores, though with less fluff percent, are still dominant. H.B. Fuller is a pioneer in core technology, and our patented specialty core adhesives have demonstrated proven performance in Japan and China for many years.


Comfort is key when it comes to disposable hygiene products, and breathability of final materials can support body temperature control as well as lower odor. We offer several adhesive solutions to address this trend, providing the best anti-oil migration for breathable film application as well as lower adhesive transfer when attaching articles to clothing.

Natural/Eco Substrates

Numerous femcare products with pure cotton top sheet have been launched by Asian and multinational brands in recent years, most of which have received positively by consumers. PLA, regarded as bio-degradable and environmentally sustainable, became popular first in Europe, and now some Chinese manufacturers have added PLA-based product lines. China’s 2017 ban on the import of certain waste (such as plastic waste) has far reaching effects both within China and abroad, and our patented adhesives meet stringent peel and wet strength challenges, which enables our customers to use a variety of eco-friendlier substrates.

Evolving consumer needs and fast innovation requirements are not only challenges, but also great opportunities embraced by H.B. Fuller in Asia Pacific and around the world. With world-leading adhesive expertise, we are here to partner with you and solve your bonding challenges.

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