Market Analysis & Forecasts


Strong growth for global nonwovens market

Hygiene goods, feminine sanitary products, wipes, and industrial applications will all contribute to stronger demand for nonwovens globally across 2024-2028. Total consumption will reach 14.25 million metric tons in 2023, with a value of $59.01 billion, according to the latest expert market modelling from Smithers.

Intensive Smithers market analysis available to purchase now in The Future of Global Nonwoven Markets to 2029 – shows that further increases will lift this to 15.15 million metric tons in 2024, and a value of $62.85 billion.

© 2023 Smithers
© 2023 Smithers

In a rapidly evolving commercial landscape, Smithers forecasts the market will increase at a +7.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), by value, to reach $88.55 billion in 2028, at constant prices; with consumption increasing at a marginally slower rate to 21.29 million metric tons. This reflects a positive outlook for two distinct nonwovens segments – disposables and industrial/durable.

Disposable nonwovens (diapers, feminine hygiene goods, adult incontinence wear, wipes, and medical fabrics and PPE) are 44.0% of the market in 2023, by weight. Demand for wipes and medical PPE surged as the Covid pandemic peaked, and a residual elevation in demand for disinfecting wipes and medical nonwovens will keep demand growth higher through the decade.

As the segment evolves there is a major demand for greater sustainability for these single-use formats. The hygiene and feminine hygiene component suppliers are experimenting with constructions using greater volumes of wood-derived fibers, as well as investigating the potential of biopolymers. For recycled polymers, trials using in meltblown polypropylene fabrics have been completed, but obtaining supplies of suitable recycled resins, at volume, is impossible in the contemporary market.

Incremental environmental gains can be made in reducing waste on converting lines, and lowering basis weights further, although this is only plausible if superior substrate strength and uniformity can be provided.

Durable or industrial nonwovens (apparel, coating substrates, furnishings, filtration, construction, automotive, etc) saw a much larger market deflection during Covid-19. A recovery from this has been further retarded by the macroeconomic fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Overall, durable nonwovens consumption for 2024 will be down by 200,000 tons on pre-covid forecasts. A strong recovery is forecast however, especially through the second half of the Smithers forecast period.

This will manifest in increased demand for gas and liquid filtration and agricultural nonwovens; with all three segments set for double-digit annual increases for 2024-2029. Coating substrates and geotextile/civil engineering will also increase market share. Demand will be more restrained for apparel and home furnishings; as inflation erodes consumers’ discretionary spending potential.

As the market continues to evolve, it will need to adjust to overcapacity and resulting price pressures for many of the main nonwoven processes. Spunlaids account for half of contemporary consumption by volume, and prices are already decreasing to reflect oversupply. Similar effects are forecast on spunlace variant pricing as more global capacity is added in China and Turkey. For needlepunch, similar considerations will cause the closure of some older, less productive lines.

Smithers analysis shows supply and demand for airlaid and carded nonwovens is generally balanced. The same is largely true for wetlaids, although supply is tighter for some specific variants.

The Future of Global Nonwoven Markets to 2029 delivers an authoritative, comprehensive overview of the latest industrial, consumer, and regulatory trends that will shape nonwoven consumption across the next five years. Its expert market data modelling is presented in over 130 tables and figures, segmenting this dynamic industry  by:

• Nonwovens variant – Spunlaid, Drylaid, Airlaid, Wetlaid, Other

• Raw material type – PP polymer, PET polymer, PE polymer, Other polymer, PP fiber, PET fiber, Rayon/lyocell, Bicomponent fiber, Wood pulp, Fiber other

• End-use application – Hygiene, Medical, Personal care wipes, Homecare wipes, Industrial wipes, Other disposables, Air/gas filtration, Garments, Inter-linings, Shoes & leather, Coating substrates, Upholstery & bedding, Floor coverings, Building & roofing, Geotextiles & civil engineering, Automotive, Agriculture, Other durables

• Geographic market – North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Rest of the World.

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