Summary of our market study

The global baby diaper market has demonstrated substantial growth, poised to reach nearly $65 billion by 2022 with an anticipated CAGR between 5.6% and 6.2% in the forthcoming years. Despite this positive trend globally, the French market experienced a decline, particularly due to consumer trust issues concerning diaper composition. However, recovery prospects are driven by the introduction of eco-friendly products and efforts by manufacturers to ensure transparency. Online sales are rising, but supermarkets remain the primary distribution channel. Major players like Procter & Gamble's Pampers and private labels dominate the market, amidst a concentrated sector with 60% of global sales concentrated in Europe and North America, and Asia-Pacific driving growth. Demand remains heavily influenced by birth rates and consumers are increasingly turning to natural and less polluting diapers, reflective of heightened environmental and health awareness.

Shifting Trends in the Diaper Market Amidst Demographic Challenges

In recent years, the diaper market has faced significant fluctuations due to various demographic and consumer trends. A critical aspect influencing demand is the country's declining fertility rates, as evidenced by a decrease in the birth rate from 12.8 births per 1,000 inhabitants to around 11.3 over nine years. With approximately 17,000 fewer births in one year, the need for baby diapers has naturally tapered, reflecting a slowing growth for the market.

Despite the challenges, buyer behavior reveals interesting patterns. Mothers remain primary purchasers, with over 70% taking responsibility for buying and changing diapers. Although parental influencers and health professionals exert a considerable influence on purchasing decisions, around 40% of French parents make baby product purchases weekly. Notably, baby hygiene accounts for about €51 of the monthly expenditures towards child care, demonstrating the continuing significance of this market segment.

The conventional disposable diaper retains the largest market share by value; however, there's an inclination toward more sustainable options like cloth diapers, though these still represent a minority of around 14% of users. Concurrently, the emergence of eco-friendly and natural diaper alternatives is gaining traction, addressing growing health and environmental concerns. Reports highlight the presence of potentially toxic substances in diapers, resulting in heightened consumer awareness and demand for safer, greener products.

Diaper production in the country primarily relies on imports, with only two local factories contributing to about 15% of the national demand. Supermarkets are the predominant distribution channel, accounting for over 92% of sales, while online sales are progressively on the rise.

The market is highly concentrated, with large international corporations and private labels from major retailers dominating the scene. Recent trends show a drift towards price reduction, influenced by aggressive promotional strategies in the retail sector. While standard diaper prices fluctuate between €0.13 and €0.50 per unit, premium and brand-name diapers like Pampers may command slightly higher prices.

Lastly, changes in the fluff pulp market could potentially impact production costs and consumer prices. Legislation like the REACH Regulation underscores the imperative for safer manufacturing practices for chemical substances in the industry, including those used in diapers. Moreover, national health authorities are pushing for stricter regulations to eliminate hazardous substances from baby nappies, aligning with public demand for product safety and transparency. In conclusion, the diaper market is experiencing a transformation shaped by demographic shifts, consumer preferences for organic and health-conscious options, and regulatory pressures for safety.

Key Players Shaping the Baby Diaper Market Landscape

The baby diaper market is fiercely competitive and heavily concentrated, with several major players dominating the scene, including a mix of longstanding international brands, private labels from established retailers, specialized French SMEs, and innovative online startups.

  • Procter & Gamble stands out in the industry with its globally recognized Pampers brand, which remains a top choice for parents due to its wide range of diaper products, including the recently launched Pampers Harmonie, catering to the eco-conscious market.
  • Essity is another major contender that aims to capture a significant market share with its Lotus Baby brand, demonstrating a clear ambition to expand its presence in the baby diaper segment.
  • Artsana, known for its array of baby care products, also competes in this space with its Chicco brand, which provides a variety of baby essentials including diapers.
  • Ontex continues to make its mark by offering a range of personal hygiene products for babies, adults, and feminine care, while Kimberly-Clark, with its Huggies brand, remains a vital player known for innovation and quality.
  • Retailers have also secured their portion of the market with Carrefour, Auchan, and E.Leclerc offering competitive private label options, branded respectively as Carrefour Baby, Auchan Baby, and Mots d'Enfants. These private labels attract price-sensitive consumers seeking quality at an affordable cost. French SMEs are not to be overlooked.
  • Companies like Joone have carved out a niche by prioritizing transparency and local manufacturing, while BB Distribe - known for its Celldi brands - and Cellulose de Brocéliande are noted for their domestic production facilities. Additionally, the rise of internet-centric brands reflects a shift in consumer behavior.
  • Lillydoo offers a subscription service that is redefining convenience for parents, with customizable options that include size, quantity, and design. Similarly, subscription-based services like Tiniloo and Poupiz offer competitive and innovative models that respond to new parental demands for convenience, quality, and often, eco-friendliness.

The segmentation of this market showcases not only a battle for market share based on product quality and brand trust but also emphasizes a converging trend towards innovation, sustainability, and customer-centric supply models. 

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

The baby diapers market in France covers all activities relating to the production and sale of baby diapers.

Diapers are hygienic items worn next to the body as underwear, with an absorbent mattress. The material making up this mattress is generally defibrated wood pulp, also known as "fluff" pulp. Other materials are also included in the composition of the diapers (plastic, elastics for ease of wear, lotion to protect the skin, urine indicator, perfume, etc.).

Two main types of consumer use diapers:

  • Infants ;
  • Certain elderly people suffering from incontinence.

In this study, we will focus solely on the baby diaper segment, which accompanies children until they are potty-trained, at around three years of age. Diapers can also be segmented according to type: washable and disposable.

The global market has been growing steadily over the past 10 years, and is expected to register a CAGR of 4. 9% between 2022 and 2030.

Despite an overall drop in the birth rate, as well as the difficulties encountered by the beauty care sectorthe baby diapers and baby hygiene sector in general will do very well in 2022. Indeed, while the health crisis hit the sector hard, the recovery was very marked in 2021: rising birth rates, renewed hygiene habits...

diapers are mainly distributed and bought in supermarkets, although the boom in online sales should not be overlooked.

Consumers are increasingly sensitive to the composition of diapers and their potential toxicity. Ecological arguments play an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions.

The main players in this market are, of course, diaper manufacturers such as P & G and Kimberly-Clark, but also retailers such as Leclerc and Carrefour.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Sales in the baby diapers sector
  • Sales of baby diapers and diapers
  • Foreign trade - exports
  • Foreign trade - imports
  • Main customer countries
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Latest news

Auchan faces another "difficult" year in 2023 - 22/02/2024
  • -Auchan net loss in 2023: 379 million euros
  • - Previous year's profit: 33 million euros
  • - Auchan's position in the French retail sector: 5th
  • - Revenue in 2023: down 1.7% to 32.9 billion euros
  • - Share of hypermarkets in Auchan's store base: 21%
  • - Acquisition of Casino stores by Auchan and Intermarché: 70 supermarkets, 26 hypermarkets, including five larger than 9,000 m2, and two drives
Auchan: New Beginnings - 06/12/2023
  • Gérard Mulliez founded Auchan in 1961.
  • Auchan hypermarkets account for 80% of the company's sales.
  • Auchan's market share has fallen from over 10% five years ago to 8.4% today.
  • Failed attempt by the Mulliez family to take over Carrefour in October 2021.
  • Auchan and Intermarché are looking to form a product purchasing alliance, which would give them a combined market share of 30%.
  • Auchan and Intermarché have been trying to share nearly 300 hypers and supermarkets that Casino is due to sell.
Hygiene: Essity invests in Eure to improve recycling of food cartons - 22/11/2023
  • The Hondouville plant in the Eure region of France produces toilet paper, handkerchiefs and paper towels for professional markets (hotels, restaurants, businesses, industry, etc.), marketed under the Tork brand.
  • To manufacture these products, the company has been recycling food bricks for over fifteen years
  • In each food carton, paper fibers (75%) are mixed with aluminum (5%), plastic (14%) and cork (6%).
  • The Stockholm-based international group, whose products are marketed in some 150 countries, has sales of 15 billion euros by 2022 and 48,000 employees worldwide.
  • In France, the Group's fourth-largest market, it operates eight sites with 2,500 employees.
  • Its Eure plant also manufactures cotton personal care products under the Demak'Up and Lotus brands.
  • Over the past three years, investments at the Normandy site have totalled 47 million euros, reassuring the plant's 360 employees
Petits Culottés short-circuits supermarkets with baby diapers - 14/11/2023
  • Les Petits Culottés was created in 2019 in Paris. 12 employees.
  • In four years, the company has managed to win over around 80,000 parents.
  • The company's products are 15% cheaper than the competition thanks to online sales.
  • The company has its diapers manufactured by BB Distribe in Laval-sur-Vologne, Vosges.
  • Infant milk is purchased from a group of independent breeders in the Vendée region.
  • Present in some 50 maternity wards and in partnership with approximately 6,000 pharmacies.
  • The SME achieves sales of 42 million euros without raising capital.
180 million plan for paper manufacturer Fibre Excellence Provence - 22/10/2023
  • Fibre Excellence Provence is about to launch a lignin separation unit, which will enable it to produce absorbent pulp for diapers.
  • The plant represents an investment of 80 million euros. By 2025, almost half of Fibre Excellence Provence's production will be devoted to this new product line.
  • It should cover around 10% of national demand for diapers.
  • Fibre Excellence Provence, a company that previously filed for bankruptcy following a fall in packaging paper prices, has sales of 155 million euros.
  • The company was rescued by its shareholder, Asian Pulp and Paper, which assumed 80 million euros of its debts.
  • A five-year, 180-million euro investment plan has been put in place to restructure the company.
Essity claims "world first" in recycling - 21/10/2023
  • A new recycling line for liquid-food packaging was inaugurated on October 17.
  • Essity's sales target is 15 billion euros by 2022.
  • Essity employs around 48,000 people in 150 countries.
  • In France, Essity employs 2,500 people and has six production sites and a research and development center.
  • France is the Swedish group's fourth-largest market.
  • The Hondouville plant employs 360 people.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Artsana Groupe (Chicco)
Auchan groupe
Love & Green
BB Distribe
Cellulose de Brocéliande

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