Adult incontinence products are now one of the fastest growing categories in the absorbent hygiene industry. Modern incontinence sufferers are not just the elderly. Incontinence can be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, diabetes, prostate, cancer, obesity, and menopause among many other issues. These issues, along with a rapidly aging population, has caused a growing market for adult incontinence products including pants, under pads, light incontinence pads, absorbent underwear and other similar products. This growing market has meant manufacturers have been challenged to develop new products to benefit this new range of consumers.
The data does not lie. Adult incontinence is the fastest growing category in retail and hygiene world wide. There were over $9.7 billion in adult incontinence hygiene products sales with the market expected to surpass $18 billion by 2020. However, these statistics do not necessarily mean an increase in the causes of incontinence. Rather, according to Svetlana Uduslivaia, the Global Head of Tissue and Hygiene Research, much of the growth is due to “consumer education, better understanding of incontinence and better consumer awareness of products available.”
Further, she acknowledges that the surge is driven by the expansion of product options, as well as online stores that specialise in adult incontinence. This type of innovation and product segmentation both increases market visibility and aids those in need. It also pushes manufacturers to produces better, more discreet products to push their visibility in the growing market.
For younger people, there is the stigma that incontinence is an issue for elderly people only. It is an issue for a number of conditions such as arthritis, and vision and hearing loss that are increasingly affecting younger generations. By normalising these issues, it not only eliminates the social stigma of incontinence but pushes brands to not only modernise the products but also their marketing.
Further, normalising incontinence allows for education, teaching consumers the right products to use as well as offering them a choice of appropriate products. For example, thinner products for active women with light bladder leakage. Manufacturers, as a result, have developed a wide range of products from liners, pads to underwear to cover all needs and situations, as well as protecting against leaks and odours.
With the growth of incontinence products has come a demand from users for better functioning incontinence products. This has led to the development of incontinence products that offer protection, comfort and discretion. As a result, modern incontinence hygiene products have better absorbency and a softer feeling. Further, we can all agree that odour control is a highly important aspect of incontinence products. As such, modern incontinence products work to mask or neutralise odours. By helping to make incontinence products more comfortable and discreet, manufacturers are further aiding efforts to normalise the condition.
With the advent of online shopping, the category of adult incontinence products has seen an upswing. Online selection allows for discretion as well as better and more consistent product options and supply. Further, younger generations often find it easier to shop online than to locate the necessary products in a physical store, while homebound patients appreciate the convenience. Further, many people may research products online first before deciding on what to buy, so having product ranges available online is exceptionally important.
While traditionally incontinence was seen as a feminine issue, and women do still make up around 75-80% of incontinence sufferers, men still make up a large portion of the incontinence market. Products specifically designed to work with male incontinence and male anatomy, rather than a single unisex option, means better support for all.