Brands and countries

The world of absorbent hygiene—baby care, period care, and adult incontinence—is transforming itself in several ways. All three segments are predicted to expand to different degrees and in different regions over the next 10 years.1 In the United States, baby diapers sales are declining, but incontinence sales are on the rise. According to industry experts, period care is surging in Africa and India.2 The list goes on and on.

To make sound business decisions, manufacturers like you can benefit from staying informed about evolving needs, preferences, and demographics.


Factors that drive changes in expectation

5 basic consumer needs

At the most fundamental level, all trends arise from what our experts call the five Cs: Comfort, Convenience, Confidence, Consistency, and Cost. Whilst the list itself remains constant, consumer expectations for each can and do change. For example, wetness indicators were once a novel convenience; now many consumers expect them—and demand increasingly faster reaction times and a clearer colour change.


Technological advancements

Product innovations include thinner core designs, the use of new materials, and the incorporation of sensor technologies. These and others are helping to drive changing expectations. Expanding technologies such as online shopping platforms and product reviews are also making it easier for consumers to buy products and find information about them.


Social perceptions

Cultural shifts can also impact how people view and use products. Members of Gen Z, for example, place greater expectations on products and companies. Their concern about the environment shapes the generation’s purchasing decisions. They also believe consumers should be able to decide how (and where) their needs are met.3


Shifting demographics

Due to factors such as fluctuating birth rates and aging populations, a society’s requirements change. As the workforce becomes more diverse, more come to rely on period care and incontinence products as they go about their daily lives. Similarly, rising disposable incomes make hygiene articles of all kinds affordable for more people.


Overall product trends

Many of today’s biggest trends appear in all three absorbent hygiene categories. Some of the most notable are:

  • Sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  • Transparency regarding products and operations
  • Hybrid and reusable products
  • Online shopping
  • The use of labels and reviews by consumers and manufacturers
  • Collaboration between manufacturers and healthcare providers to improve patient care and reduce cost
  • Specialisation of products to address specific user groups (e.g., athletes, vacationers, people with disabilities)

Shifting consumer expectations for baby diapers

The baby care market continues to grow in several regions of the world. Higher incomes, more sustainable options, local production, and even unreliable utilities contribute to the increase.

A few of the specific product trends we have seen are:

  • Wetness indicators, especially those with faster reaction times
  • Pant-style diapers, and in a wider variety of sizes
  • A desire for items with ‘adorable’ prints and, conversely, for products that are dye-free

Serving people who menstruate

The period care market is expanding in several areas across the globe, including Africa, India, and some parts of Asia. In many, efforts are underway to expand awareness of menstrual health and reduce stigma. Governments and NGOs (non-governmental agencies) are hard at work, often in conjunction with manufacturers, to make products readily available. Their efforts are supporting both education and access to employment. The result is making products more accessible to the people who need them.


Notable shifts in period care products include:

  • More affordable options, such as packages with fewer articles
  • Hybrid products that reduce environmental impact
  • Culturally appropriate options and marketing
  • Period panties

Meeting the needs of incontinent adults

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, sales of products addressing the many forms of incontinence are on the rise. Many are looking for more discreet products that offer reliable protection against leaks whilst supporting their active lifestyles.

Caregivers, for their part, are looking for better—and more efficient—ways to keep wearers healthy and comfortable.

Some of the specific trends we see are:

  • Improved absorption and acquisition time
  • Greater discretion
  • Ease of use, including pant-style products
  • Tech-based wetness indicators

Utilize Bostik’s knowledge and innovation as you move forward

Overall, consumers are increasingly looking for absorbent hygiene products that are sustainable, comfortable, high-performing, and convenient. Manufacturers who understand and meet these expectations in their product development are more likely to be successful in the market. Bostik offers the right adhesives to help you deliver the products your consumers want, every time.


Also learn about consumers’ changing expectations for the companies they choose to buy from. You’ll find it in ‘Meeting Consumer Expectations Through Good Corporate Citizenship’.


Legal disclaimer.


CODE: MT-23A02


1 Raymond Chimhandamba, Attached to Hygiene, episode 40; Chirag Virani, Attached to Hygiene, episode 38

2 ibid.

3 Ali Angus on Euromonitor’s Top Consumer Trends of 2023, Attached to Hygiene, episode 53