Europe’s nonwovens production drops by 5.7% in 2023: EDANA

April 12, 2024 - Europe

In 2023, compared to data from 2022, nonwovens production in Greater Europe decreased in volume by 5.7 per cent to 2,864,840 tonnes, and by 5.5 per cent in surface area resulting in 81.7 billion square metres of nonwovens being manufactured, as per an overview of the high-level figures from the EDANA statistics report on nonwovens production and deliveries for 2023.

However, differing trends were observed at the national level when comparing production between Greater European countries, and also when assessing the various production processes of nonwovens and market segments.

“European nonwovens production recorded its second consecutive decline since it peaked in 2021, however, it is necessary to refine the data further and assess the trends according to the different production processes. For drylaid, the production of thermally and chemically bonded nonwovens both demonstrated a double-digit decline. The production of polymer-based nonwovens decreased again, but remained above its 2019 level, despite a severe decrease in meltblown stand-alone materials. Meanwhile some production processes, such as drylaid-hydroentangled and short-fibres airlaid, stayed flat or slightly above their respective levels for the previous year,” Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s market analysis and economic affairs director, explained.

From the end-use perspective, analysing 2023 data by market segment also leads to a different conclusion. Prigneaux highlighted major trends observed regarding European manufacturers' global sales. “If we consider sales both within and outside Europe, segments such as hygiene, medical (other applications than face masks), building construction, filtration, and electronic materials significantly decreased compared to their 2022 levels, but were either at the same level as or above figures observed in 2019. Overall, the wipes’ market, including personal care, industrial, and household segments, was stable (+0.9 per cent). There were some noticeable exceptions in other applications, where nonwovens sales recovered: automotive interiors (+3.7 per cent), agriculture (+7.7 per cent), table linen (+4.2 per cent), cotton pads (+6.8 per cent), personal protective garments (+10 per cent) and packaging (+9.5 per cent).”

Prigneaux elaborated further that trends for surface area data can be different, as the product’s weight is also important. As a result, EDANA’s figures in square metres continue to provide member companies with important information year after year.