Paper Products Are on a Roll

When it comes to household paper products, private label brands account for approximately one-third of market sales, states global market researcher Mintel in its February “Household Paper Products — US” report. Private label continues to make slow but steady market share gains; between 2012 and 2013, store brand market share increased a full percentage point, primarily at the expense of value-tier national brands.

Trends with traction

Mintel reports that while national brands and store brands continue to introduce higher-quality products, consumers remain focused on savings and value. Daniel David, executive vice president of Global Tissue Group, Medford, N.Y., agrees that savings and value combined is a strong existing trend.

“We see a lot of retailers right now focusing on entry-price-point items that create value for their customers,” he says. “With that being said, they’re not only looking at giving [just] value, but also at giving a higher quality for that value.”

When it comes to specific products, toilet tissue and paper towels continue to be the category drivers, Mintel states. These two products are consistently viewed by consumers as household essentials. However, facial tissue and paper napkins continue to suffer weakening sales. These products likely are seen as discretionary items and, in some instances, replaceable by toilet paper or paper towels. Meanwhile, flushable wipes and hand/face moist towelettes, while experiencing sales growth, are the category’s smallest segments.

Trends on the horizon

With retailers looking to offer value products to consumers, David states that a lot of paper-makers are working on different qualities of paper to meet this demand in the near future. One emerging trend is using Advanced Tissue Molding System (ATMOS) technology, an alternative to through-air-drying technology that creates paper products comparable to premium products while using fewer fibers and less energy. Using ATMOS paper helps retailers provide their consumers with the higher quality they’re looking for at a price point they appreciate.

Two additional trends that could take off in the near future include moist toilet tissue and sustainable paper products. While moist toilet tissue sales are slowly rising, marketers still need to convince consumers of the tissue’s effectiveness. Currently, fewer than three in 10 consumers believe that moistened flushable wipes clean better than dry toilet paper alone, Mintel reports. And when it comes to sustainable products, about 25 percent of consumers say they are interested in buying paper products made from sustainable non-tree sources such as bamboo.