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Oct. 10, 2011 - PRLog -- ReportsnReports | Tissue and Hygiene in Canada

Saturation, the weak economy and demographic trends affect the performance of the market
In 2010 tissue and hygiene saw a modest increase in current value terms, as many key categories continued to be affected by saturation, slow population growth, unfavourable demographic trends in terms of the ageing population and the slow pace of economic recovery, which saw consumers watching their budgets. Retail tissue remained amongst the most affected by saturation, reflected in slow volume gains, whilst slow movement in nappies/diapers/pants and sanitary protection reflected the shrinking consumer base and the growing proportion of older people. Bright spots, however, included home care wipes and incontinence products, with sales of the former driven by healthy demand for convenient cleaning options, whilst the latter benefited from the growing proportion of older people.

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Price increases are mitigated by promotional activities and bulk purchases
In the conditions of a mature market and unfavourable demographic trends, manufacturers sought to add value by increasing prices through product development and premiumisation. However, weak economic recovery, continuously high unemployment and strong retail competition for consumer dollars led to price increases being mitigated by retailers’ reluctance to increase prices. In addition, there was a high level of promotional activity to maintain customer flow, and consumers opted for bulk purchases, either in the form of larger rolls or multipacks. Consequently, despite attempted premiumisation, value growth remained modest in 2010.

Sales remain fairly consolidated, with a sizeable private label presence
Retail sales of tissue and hygiene products in Canada remained fairly consolidated in 2010; led by Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Kruger Products. All of these companies remained active in terms of marketing and product development to maintain a high degree of brand awareness, with a focus on key flagship brands, and attention also paid to eco-friendly trends. However, private label also retained a sizeable presence in the Canadian tissue and hygiene market, with products marketed towards various price tiers – from economy to premium – as well as green products. Aside from attracting consumers seeking value, private label has become one of the key components of revenue growth in a highly competitive retail environment in Canada.

Grocery retailers lead, and price wars intensify
Overall, grocery retailers remained the leading distribution channel in retail tissue and hygiene in Canada in 2010, with supermarkets/hypermarkets accounting for the largest share of sales. The latter also saw an increase in share, as the hypermarkets format continued to expand in Canada (not least through the ongoing expansion of Walmart Supercenters). Within grocery retailers the competition is intense, also reflected in retailers’ pricing strategies, with some, such as Sobeys, announcing that prices would not go up, and others, such as Walmart Supercenters, featuring strong promotions and price discounts. The competition is likely to intensify further as Target moves into Canada. Due to the strong degree of promotional activity and the consumer quest for value, retailers which did not compete well on pricing saw their shares of sales decline, such as small grocery retailers and health and beauty retailers (drugstores being the key channel in the latter).

Modest growth ahead, as volume sales have little room for organic growth
Over the forecast period the issues of market saturation and demographic shifts will remain on the agenda; thus only modest increases in constant value terms, and slow/marginal growth in volume terms are projected for the next five years for many key categories in tissue and hygiene. Whilst incremental product innovation and further attempts at premium positioning, chiefly through marketing, will be seen once again, these will have limited opportunities to drive significant growth.

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