An abundant raw material, pulp is a fibrous substance synthesized by separating cellulose fibers chemically or mechanically from wood, fiber crops, rags or waste paper. Pulp can then be converted into paper or sold as market pulp which is then used to make consumer products such as tissue paper, diapers, specialty papers, packaging, and other absorbent products.
Due to digitalization, the demand for paper is dropping, nevertheless, the demand for tissue paper continues to rise globally and is the largest end-user segment for the global pulp market. Tissue papers are used in the form of toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels, and wipes. Growing population and influence of western lifestyle choices in emerging markets are factors that further drive the demand for tissue papers.
The global demand for all tissue paper in 2017 reached 37.1 million tons, giving a boost to market pulp suppliers as there was an increased demand for tissue paper that uses entirely market pulp. Bathroom tissue formed the biggest growth area, with an increased demand for premium and ultra-premium grades of tissue paper.
Here is a look at the demands for tissue paper across global markets:
The trend of tissue papers can be traced back to North America which popularized the usage of bathroom papers, which then influenced other nations. Toilet paper is the largest segment of the tissue paper market in North America and a significant amount is exported as well.
Facial tissues and absorbency tissues are also gaining popularity due to innovations in the respective fields. The increase in demand for tissue papers in China was initially met by export from the North American region, however, with new domestic players in China, the export market has reduced.
In comparison to North America, the use of tissue paper in Europe is lower, but the consumption is increasing in commercial establishments such as offices, restaurants, hospitals, and hotels. At least one-fourth of tissue paper is sold directly to the AFH (Away From Home) market or business-to-business. Once again, the dominating form of tissue paper used is toilet paper. While the UK witnesses an increase in demand for tissue paper, Germany has noted a decline in demand.
APAC (Asia Pacific)
China accounts for the highest revenue generated by the tissue paper market not only in the Asia Pacific region but across the world, with an expected generation of $44,054 million in 2019. Although the largest growth area is for bathroom tissue, other products in demand include facial tissues, paper towels, and wipes. While earlier a large portion of China’s tissue paper was imported from North America, domestic producers have emerged to meet the needs of the populous nation.
Apart from China, the demand for tissue paper is strong in the emerging markets of Indonesia and Vietnam. In India, the demand is higher for facial tissues as compared to toilet paper and paper towels as cultural tendencies often view such items as unhygienic.
Increase in tissue paper demand is driving the pulp market since the drop in demand for paper. Tissue paper is used in different ways across the world, and with the abundance of raw material and market pulp, more applications are likely to come up. The spread of western lifestyle has influenced the growth in demand for tissue paper products, as can be clearly seen by the example of China. As the demand for tissue paper grows, it’s expected that more players will enter the field.