Demand for wipes to push world spunlace nonwovens demand to $12.04 billion in 2026, says new Smithers report

Demand for wipes to push world spunlace nonwovens demand to $12.04 billion in 2026, says new Smithers report

LEATHERHEAD, Surrey, UK and AKRON, Ohio, USA – August 3, 2021 – The global market for spunlace nonwovens will reach $7.80 billion in 2021 as new wipes production lines are added to respond to the surge in demand caused by Covid-19. This will see installed capacity climb to 2.62 million tonnes in 2021 according to Smithers’ latest expert survey of this market segment – The Future of Spunlace Nonwovens to 2026.

Published today, the report’s analysis shows that enhanced concerns over infection control will help spunlace production resist any recessionary downturn, with an impressive 9.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) forecast for 2021-2026. This will push total market value to $12.04 billion in 2026, as producers also benefit from wider use in coating substrates, and hygiene applications.

Smithers detailed data set shows that over the same time period the total tonnage of spunlace nonwovens will rise from 1.65 million tonnes (2021) to 2.38 million tonnes (2026). While volume of spunlace nonwovens will rise from 39.57 billion metres square (2021) to 62.49 billion metres square (2026) – equivalent to a CAGR of 9.6% – as manufacturers introduce lighter base weight nonwovens.

The majority of growth will come from Asia, with China alone set to install around 50 new lines in 2021-2022. Closer to Europe, up to 30 new spunlace lines are planned for Turkey over the same time period. 
Over the forecast period, card-card (CC) will remain the dominant spunlace process. It has a 75.6% market share by volume in 2021 that will not diminish significantly. There will be increased demand for wetlaid spunlace (WLS) over the next five years, while the market shares for card/pulp/card (CPC) and spunbond/pulp (SP) spunlace variants will decline. Sustainability concerns will lead to nascent card/airlaid/card (CAC) spunlace technology having the fastest growth rate, with worldwide consumption more than quadrupling over the Smithers study period.

Wipes (baby care, home care, industrial, personal care) account for around 64.7% of all spunlace media produced in 2021. Through to 2026, the fastest growth rates are forecast for personal care wipes, and adult and toddler moist toilet tissues. Demand in durable applications will be more suppressed; although there will be new market opportunities in consumer hygiene with spunlace presenting a sustainable alternative to competing polyester or polypropylene-based nonwovens in applications such as ultrathin topsheets for feminine hygiene pads.

As the imminent threat of COVID recedes, the leading transformative trend across the first half of 2020s will be developing more sustainable nonwovens. Generally this will advantage spunlace producers, as they work towards the goal of developing a fully plastics-free wipe. This driver will continue to receive a stimulus from the EU’s Single-use Plastics Directive, but there is also strong interest from brand owners in polymer-free wipes that can be marketed as premium eco-friendly products. The main route to achieve this is wider use of rayon, lyocell, wood pulp, cotton and other biodegradable fibres, with a corresponding relative decrease in use of spunbond polypropylene and polypropylene fibre.

The current and future market for spunlace nonwovens is examined in unprecedented depth in the new Smithers report – The Future of Spunlace Nonwovens to 2026. It includes detailed technology forecasts, company forecasts, and analysis of marketplace as it adjusts to the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.

It has a foundation in an authoritative, exclusive market data set. Presented in over 130 data table and figures this segments the market by value ($ million) and volume (tonnes/surface area) by raw material, spunlace process variant, end-use application, and geographic region.

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Download The Future of Spunlace Nonwovens to 2026 brochure

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