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Wet and Dry Wipes

Demand for wipes is expected to advance 2.3% per year off a relatively high base to $4.3 billion in 2026. While this growth rate is relatively slow compared to historical norms, it stems from elevated market levels, as pandemic-related sales spikes for various wipes (notably disinfectant wipes in 2020), supply chain challenges, and higher raw material costs led prices for wipes to jump in 2020 and 2021, inflating market value in those years.

In unit terms, wipe demand growth will accelerate, supported by:

  • consistent increases in the industrial and institutional market, with major submarkets like healthcare and foodservice returning to pre-pandemic levels of operation
  • product development that improves the functionality and environmental profile of available personal care wipes, thereby increasing adoption among consumers

Demand for Surface Disinfectant Wipes to Remain Elevated

While demand for surface disinfectant wipes fell in 2021 from the pandemic-induced spikes of 2020, it remained well above pre-COVID-19 levels; consumers and nonresidential end users continued to purchase these products to protect themselves from potential viral exposure. Major wipes suppliers have invested significantly in expanding their domestic production capacities for surface disinfectant wipes, in some cases enlisting contract manufacturers to help supplement their own lines.

It is expected that demand for surface disinfectant wipes will remain elevated as cleaning regimens in industrial and institutional settings that address healthcare associated infections (HAIs), foodborne illnesses, and other potential viruses continue to be rigorous. While consumer demand for these wipes will decline as households reorient their approach to reducing viral transmission, an expanded base of users will help demand remain above pre-pandemic levels.

Product Development Continues to Create More Sustainable Options

Suppliers of baby, personal hygiene, and household wipe products continue developing items that appeal to consumer desires for sustainability and environmental safety. Consumers increasingly want their products to have ingredient transparency, be biodegradable, and be derived from natural sources. These trends – coupled with regulatory actions to influence the development of products that have improved flushability or less plastic content – will encourage greater use of these products going forward.

Growth in the Industrial & Institutional Market Supports Overall Gains

The market for industrial and institutional wipes rebounded in 2021 following a depressed 2020 that was attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the foodservice market was negatively impacted by restaurant closures, and hospitals saw the cancellation of non-emergency procedures and focused more on telehealth. Going forward, both markets will continue to grow as:

  • foodservice revenues rise and the number of restaurants and other foodservice establishments increases
  • healthcare spending increases due to an aging population and an uptick in surgical procedures

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