Monday, 31 October 2011

Insight 2011 Conference Minneapolis USA – 23rd-27th October

Global Tissue and Hygiene Markets

Howard Telford, Research Associate of Euromonitor International (USA) observed that the global tissue and hygiene retail markets were immune to the recession and apparently detached from the core economic trends.  However the global picture hid stasis in North America and Western Europe which had been offset by growth in the emerging markets where population and incomes were still growing.  Between 2005 and 2010:
·         Global $ growth of 32.4% was made up of an emerging market growth of 75% and a developed market growth of 12%.
·         Highest growth rates (11-12%) were in Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.  Asia Pacific as a whole grew 7.5%.
·         The USA was still the largest market ($26bn) but China ($18bn) is catching up fast with 9.2% per annum growth. 
·         China has accounted for 80% of the Asia/Pacific growth, but India hardly progressed.
·         P&G ($25.3bn at retail globally) were the largest supplier.  K-C was second at $23.3bn and SCA third at $6.3bn. 
·         Both P&G and K-C had grown at 4.5% p.a. over the 5-year period, but for 2009-10, P&G showed 5.4% growth against K-C’s 4.3%.
·         All major manufacturers grew through repositioning their presence in emerging markets with China being the key target.
·         Private label remains over-dependent on mature markets, especially Europe which has seen both low growth and a resurgence of brands in 2010.
·         Supermarket and Hypermarket sales still dominate, but Internet sales are now growing at 25% per year and in Korea the internet accounts for 45% of diaper sales.
·         Incontinence products have grown at 40% p.a. from a low base in developed markets and appear unaffected by economic instability.
For the future, considering the 2010-15 period:

Friday, 7 October 2011

Man Made Fibres Conference - Dornbirn Austria Sept 2011


740 delegates from 30 countries were drawn to Dornbirn for this, the 50th annual conference organised by the Austrian Man-Made Fibres Association.  Germany provided most delegates (264) and with Austria (192) and Switzerland (102) the majority language was German.  There were 3 simultaneous sessions so a maximum of a third of the total could be heard. Several were not available in hard copy and more than usual were available only in German.  The tight scheduling left little time for questions.

Opening Address

Friedrich Weninger CEO Lenzing and President of AMFA noted that in 1962 the first AMFA conference recorded a world fibre production of 15 million tonnes, 0.7 million being synthetic and 10.1 million cotton.  Last year the total had reached 73 million tonnes, 43 million being synthetic,  25 million being cotton and man-made cellulosics had reached a record 4.2 million tonnes.  Continued growth of the total fibre market was expected to be 3% per annum, with cotton having plateaued and man-made cellulosics due to grow fastest at 9% pa.

Predicting short term trends was trickier than ever:
·         The stock market fluctuations were caused by speculation unbacked by real effects
·         Customers did not really know what they wanted and could do no more than extrapolate from past trends.
Megatrends were easier:
·         The future would be dominated by developments related to energy supply, healthcare, biotechnology, sustainability, well-being and the convenience of nonwoven materials.
·         Nonwovens would grow to consume 25% of total fibres. (with 100 million tonnes fibres expected to be used by 2020, this equates to 25 million tonnes of nonwovens)
·         Total Technical Textiles (including NWs) would be half the total.
·         Wood will remain the most important, but not the only source of cellulose for fibre.  Waste biomass sources were being developed.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Patent Litigation Judgement

As expert witness in the Aquacel/Durafibre wound dressings case it was good to see that the first thoughts about the validity of patents I had been involved with at Courtaulds coupled with the hard an painstaking preparation by Slaughter and May and the defendants, were upheld in the Judgement. 

Para 12 is relevant to our business. 


"Mr Woodings is an experienced fibres scientist who specialises in cellulose chemistry.  He is a consultant to the nonwoven and fibre industries and has over 50 years experience in the industry. Between 1982 and 1994 he worked in the Courtaulds Research Division and from 1994 and 1998 he was Market Development Director for Tencel Fibres Europe. He was commissioning editor and author of the book ‘Regenerated Cellulose Fibres’, and also contributed to Kirk Othmer’s Encyclopaedia of Chemical Technology and the Encyclopaedia of Polymer Science and Technology on the same topic.

He was an excellent witness."

The full judgement is at:

Thursday, 23 June 2011

World of Wipes, Atlanta: 14th-16th June 2011


This conference goes from strength to strength.  It was the 5th and it attracted 370 attendees, many on INDA’s innovative “networking only” rate which clearly adds to the numbers and improves networking prospects.  It is also attracting inventors keen to take a table-top to show off their ideas and grow their businesses.  The quality of presentations and information provided was excellent.

Global Wipes Market Update

Ian Bell of Euromonitor International (UK)  put FMCG value growth for 2006-11 at only 1-3% in the developed regions of the world, and 9-12% in the developing regions.  For wipes (excluding Away From Home products), the split was 85/15 of value sales between the developed/developing regions .  Globally the market for personal care and home care wipes now amounted to $9.25bn.  Overall like-for-like sales had grown by 2% but within this, Personal care had grown 5% while Home Care had declined by 2%. 
  • In Western Europe the Home Care decline had been particularly steep, falling from $1.2bn in 2005 to just below $0.9bn in 2010. 
  • All sectors, Household, Electrostatic, All-Purpose, Furniture,Toilet, and Floor showed a 5 year decline in this region. 
  • The US showed modest growth, while Australasia and Japan were stagnant. 
  • Personal Care in WE had grown from $1.9bn to $2.35bn
  • In the same period, in the USA PC wipes market grew from $1.3bn to $1.5bn while Australasia and Japan were static.
  • Per-capita spend on wipes however was highest in Japan and Australia ($10-$11), with the USA at $8.2 and WE at $6.6.  Surprisingly, the Japanese PC wipe sector now included a successful deodorant wipe for men. (“Gatsby Ice Type”)

Friday, 6 May 2011

EDANA's INDEX 2011: Geneva 12th - 15th April


This was the largest nonwovens show ever both in terms of exhibitor numbers and total content.  In addition to the main exhibits, EDANA had arranged a Special Features and Events programme comprising a Global Nonwovens Summit, the INDEX Awards, a Management Innovation Workshop, Nonwovens Tutorials, and Exhibitor Product Presentations.  Your correspondent had to focus, and chose to focus on the Exhibition stands and conversations with the exhibitors, the emphasis being on seeking out new and interesting developments, especially those from the East.  The notes are roughly classified according to whether they relate mainly to Raw Materials - Natural or Synthetic, Nonwovens - Spunlaid or Carded, Machinery - Spunlaid or Other and Miscellaneous. 

Natural Raw Materials

Birla Cellulose (India), the largest viscose rayon producer, had no fibre available and nothing they  wanted to sell.  They thought what Courtaulds used to call the Cellulosics Gap had finally arrived.  Demand for cellulosics was now much higher than even cotton could reasonably be expected to fill without serious encroachment on food-growing acreage, so Dissolving Pulp capacity and rayon production were now expanding as rapidly as possible.  They hoped to start up another 150,000 tonnes viscose plant

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Vision Consumer Products 2011: Carlsbad, 10th-12th January

Despite atrocious travelling conditions in many parts of the US about 190 of the 220 delegates pre-registered for this meeting and all but one of the speakers made it to Carlsbad for this annual INDA event, normally held in New Orleans.  Carlsbad, being in one of the very few states unaffected by snow, proved to be an inspired choice of venue. 
In the interests of maximising networking opportunities, moderators minimised after-speech questioning.  The Visionary Award presentations continue to be the unscripted highlight of the conference.

Global Trends
Paul Leinberger of the Futures Company  has identified that consumers are learning to live with increased economic uncertainty and are becoming less frivolous with money.  They are now thinking twice about increasing consumption and prefer to “protect the world”, strengthen relationships, and share responsibility for the consequences of past overconsumption.  In 2010, FC’s  global Monitor survey covered 27,000 consumers in 27 countries:

·         54% of those questioned felt less secure about the financial future than they did a few years ago, and only 26% feel they have enough savings to rely on.

·         69% are now more thoughtful about purchases and 60% do more research before choosing a product.

·         There is a renewed sense of trust in quality brands and less inclination to go for the cheapest products (c.f. 2009 survey)