FSC, organic, flushable & biodegradable products in nonwovens to be seen on shelves in future
Avi Bash is an Independent Nonwovens Sales & Marketing Consultant with over 25 years of global experience in this field. His specialization is Spunlace Technology and its applications.
I believe that the NW market will continue its growth also in year 2011. The industry will keep on "struggling" with high fibers' prices because of the following: 1. Shortage of Cotton fibers due to flodes and bad crops during year 2010 2. High demand for Oil based fibers to replace Cotton fibers. 3. Continues strong fibers demand for the apperal market from China, India and emerging countries (S.America, Africa and Russia). On the other hand, the market demand for NW made products will grow and will cause lower profitability to all but mainly to the convertors. There will be more interest and investments made in High End products markets (Organic, Flushable and biodegradable) which will eventually bring the consumer prices down. I predict that the the "lowering basis weights/cutting down wipes size/packing less wipes per pack" will continue and mainly affect the US market where Basis Weight is still over 50gsm (compare to Europe where it is below 45gsm).
To my belief, penetrating a new market is easier than to introduce a product in an already developed market. Big brands are almost always the first to be in every market. In developing/"virgin" markets these brands have concurred most shelves space and can sell their products, usually good quality ones (to gain consumer trust), with very high margins. In such cases, since the "Forrest is not thick" it is usually enough to come up either with a different, eye catcher (organic/Emboss/Printed/other) or high performance product and/or with lower prices and to gently be able to take a small piece of the market and by doing so, to stick the foot in the door. In an already developed markets, the ground rules have been already defined and competition is much more crowded and aggressive. In this case, prices are, some times are good for only one day until someone else quotes a lower price. Quality and sometimes service in developed countries, in most cases, is no more a factor. It is all about Cost, Cost, Cost....
The world is asking for Green, Biodegradable, renewable products. This is the direction we are going to. I believe that although the initial costs, the process and the fibers are all more expensive, we will see more and more FSC, Organic (with so many certifications), Flushable and biodegradable products on the shelves.
India Market is growing fast. From my knowledge and understanding, India is currently a big exporter of fibers not so much of NW fabrics. As the population will get to know the benefits of using NW goods, the local (mainly textile) industry will change and grow to support this direction. Labor is still low and domestic producers will see the benefits of exporting not only to China but also more to Europe.
China is up to speed in both NW production and consumption. The growth rate is much higher than in anywhere in the world and definitely higher than the one in India. Many production lines were installed in China in the last few years. Although having an easy route to the US West coast, I believe that most local producers will emphasize on their domestic markets. India, on the other hand is much slower. Only a few production lines (Spunlace) were installed there in the last few years and, to my knowledge, a big effort is made on export.
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