Women's Hygiene - China - April 2013
“The nature of feminine hygiene products defines it to be a necessity which means it is only a matter of time before the market matures. While market leaders have more power to leverage scale and distribution, for smaller players it is more imperative to cultivate a core user group by clear positioning. The challenge is how to differentiate from competitors in a market that is highly functional-driven.”
– Ruyi Xu, Deputy Research Manager
In this report Mintel answers the key questions:
- What is the current state of the feminine hygiene in China and what are the important factors shaping its future development?
- What are the differences among consumer groups and what product benefits are they looking for?
- What opportunities do changing socio-economic trends provide players with in this market?
- What are the lessons to be learned from successful and less successful launches?
- How to grow the low-penetration segments such as tampons and washes in China?
China’s feminine hygiene market is yet to reach its peak if companies continue to invest and innovate in this category. According to China National Household Paper Industry Association, in 2010, total consumption volume of sanitary pads (the biggest segment of the market) was 55 billion pieces. Assuming a core user base of 380 million (population of total Chinese women aged 15-50 years old) and an average of a four-day period, this translates to a moderate consumption of three pieces per menstruating day. In other words, Chinese females on average change sanitary pads once every eight hours, an extremely low frequency by many standards, and clear room for growth. Further to fuel the growth includes many social and demographic changes that the market is subject to, such as earlier puberty and growing interest in more sophisticated feminine hygiene products.
It is also important to understand that, although China’s economy has been continuously growing, there are still profound differences across city tiers and regions in terms of basic infrastructure, living conditions as well as income levels, which impact people’s awareness, attitudes and usage habits related to personal hygiene products. On one hand, urbanisation and the increasing incidence of female illness help to cultivate more demanding consumer needs that provide the opportunity for branded products, trading up and better usage habits. On the other hand, there is still a large rural population without access to proper toiletry facilities and a dynamic group of migrant workers who come to fight hard for their lives in more developed cities. To this end, there is still large room for mainstream and value-driven sanitary protection products.
The nature of feminine hygiene products defines it to be a necessity which means it is only a matter of time before the market matures, and to a certain extent this is already happening in many tier one and two cities. In such markets, competition is more intensified and cut-throat. While market leaders have more power to leverage scale and distribution, for smaller players it is more imperative to cultivate a core user group by clear positioning. The challenge is how to differentiate from competitors in a market that is highly functional-driven.
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