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Indian Family

Hygiene Market in India – Can Quality Break Taboos?

Posted 11/21/2017 by Savio George, Strategic Account Manager, India

Today, India’s economy is growing rapidly due, in part, to its expanding population with a fast-growing youth ratio and middle class, and market and manufacturing supporting policies. This development is driving a shift in urban consumption patterns and habits.

So how are these socio, cultural and economic changes affecting the disposable hygiene products market in India?

While demographics and social factors are favorably influencing the economic expansion of this industry, the correlation may not be as simple as it seems.

Feminine Care

Although the feminine hygiene care market, for example, is expected to grow from its current value of INR 22.21 billion to INR 34.68 billion in 2020, the biggest challenge remains socio-cultural in nature. The population of India is largely rural, and in addition to challenges, such as illiteracy, affordability and availability of product in the rural areas, there also are traditional taboos associated with menstruation.

With this in mind, the government of India, together with a number of multinational companies, have been investing time and effort to promote hygiene products by running advertisement campaigns, promotional initiatives in schools, such as providing free sanitary napkins, and educational camps in rural districts. These efforts have helped in spreading awareness, reducing social stigmas, and increasing usage of sanitary napkins in rural areas. The increase of quality in these products is both expected and anticipated, as awareness and purchase power grow in these regions.

Adult IncontinenceElderly couple

The adult incontinence market in India faces a different challenge altogether. Traditionally, senior family members command considerable respect as the patriarch or the matriarch of the household. Adult diapers are seen by many as a symbol of helplessness, which brings a sense of shame to certain elderly family members. As the population continues to age in greater numbers, it is important to demonstrate the convenience these products offer, especially when both spouses are working, and in-home care becomes more challenging.

Though this market is just beginning to gain traction, the outlook is favorable when we note that:

Disposable Diapers

Affordability and disposal issues have stymied the disposable baby diaper market in India. In rural areas, cloth diapers are still very popular, so converting parents to using disposable goods has been challenging for the industry. In the urban market, however, online purchasing of these products is growing and helping to shift patterns. Easier access to more diverse and innovative products, combined with a 2.4-percent rate of urbanization, is contributing to market expansion. Despite the cultural and cost related challenges, disposable pull up pants continue to grow in popularity and now dominate the diaper market. This is related to different factors including ease of use, as more akin to cloth diapers, becoming more affordable versus open tab diapers, and increasing in availability, including in smaller pack sizes.  

At H.B. Fuller, we’re proud to help Indian disposable hygiene product manufacturers succeed by developing high performance adhesive solutions for thinner, smarter, better-fitting and more absorbent products. Together, we create quality that can break taboos. Connect with us at the upcoming BCH symposium and attend our presentation to learn more about the factors in the success of pull ups pants and how to increase quality, while remaining competitive in a market that is growing its awareness towards the needs of Indian customers.

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