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The global household paper and absorbent hygiene markets tested bold new strategies and innovation initiatives in 2015. Household towels with cleaning additives, incontinence products that sense which movements cause bladder leakage, and even flavoured children’s’ facial wipes launched as niche products during the year.

From a future standpoint, research pointing to the near-term commercialization of 3D printed feminine hygiene products, cheaper diagnostic diapers geared towards emerging markets, and even fibres that can prevent cervical cancer are on the periphery. These innovations won’t change the markets dramatically in 2016, but have the potential to reshape them over the long term.

With the above in mind, there was little change in terms of the largest and fastest-growing countries in 2015. Among the five largest disposable diaper markets only China grew significantly in 2015. China has a relatively low birth rate and the repeal of its one child policy, which in 2015 was expanded to allow all families to have multiple children, has yet to encourage population growth.

But the growing availability of disposable diapers in rural areas and lower tier cities, and a growing number of women entering the workforce, is having a positive effect on household penetration. Brazil’s recession and Japan’s population attrition drove market declines in those countries, while the US saw flat volume growth and a modest value increase due to rising prices.

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What's included

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Table of contents

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