The global market for Medical Nonwoven Disposables is projected to reach US$27.7 billion by 2024, driven by the need to prevent cross-infections in hospitals; growing focus on cost control by eliminating the labor intensive task of sterilization and reprocessing; strong ever-present demand for bandages, surgical dressings, and management of personal hygiene of patients with disabilities like incontinence.
Nonwovens are ubiquitous products in modern day's lives found in a range of applications from automotive fabrics to personal hygiene products. Due to advantages over conventional woven fabrics, with cost savings and better performance being the foremost, the market for these engineered fabrics is on the rise. In the medical sector, nonwovens find use in a wide range of products, including baby diapers, adult incontinence products, gowns, caps, wraps and wipes among others. Aging population, increasing prevalence of incontinence, growing incidents of hospital acquired infections (HAIs), growing focus on prevention of infections, stringent government regulations and material developments are the major factors driving demand for medical nonwoven disposables. Inherent product benefits also represent a major factor driving growth.
Superior comfort, higher barrier properties, resistance to contamination and better absorbency are some of the attributes of nonwovens that are driving preference in their favor away from alternative materials such as fluff pulp and textile based products. Growing concerns over rising healthcare costs are also driving demand for these relatively lower cost options. Additionally, factors such as growing incomes, rising demand for better healthcare services, improving healthcare infrastructure and general increase in awareness of health in developing countries are expanding the geographical potential of the market beyond the mature markets.
Incontinence products represent a major application of medical disposable nonwovens. Changing demographics, rising awareness of associated conditions and availability of products, and increasing adoption in developing countries are the major factors driving growth in this segment. With surgical site infections and hospital acquired infections on the rise, disposable nonwovens are finding increasing adoption in the healthcare sector where they primarily play the role of providing a barrier for preventing the spread of infections. The market is witnessing a shift towards nonwoven surgical/medical gowns, drapes, wipes and instrument wraps. However, there is a considerable variation in the split between disposable and reusable nonwovens among regions, with the overarching trend in favor of disposables.
Technological/material advancements are further galvanizing growth in the market. Development of spunlaid technology and development of eco-friendly materials represent major developments over the years, while the market is witnessing a growing shift towards for dry laid thermal bonded and carded through-air nonwovens, particularly in specialty hygiene products. Further, the industry continues to experiment with use of nanotechnology and plasma for better production ease, quality and performance.
The United States represents the largest market worldwide supported by a well-developed healthcare infrastructure; favorable reimbursement policies for adult diapers and incontinence supplies; and stringent implementation of infection prevention protocols. Asia-Pacific ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 6.6% through the analysis period led by factors such as growing population and healthcare burden; development of healthcare infrastructure; shortage of skilled nursing staff amid the growing pressure to expedite treatment and care; and burning need to address the escalating burden of Health care-associated infection (HCAI) in densely populated, resource poor emerging Asian countries.
Major players in the market include Ahlstrom-Munksjo Oyj, Asahi Kasei Corporation, Berry Plastics Corporation, Domtar Corporation, First Quality Enterprises, Inc., Freudenberg Performance Materials, Georgia-Pacific LLC, Halyard Health, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Medline Industries, Inc., Medtronic plc, PAUL HARTMANN AG, Precision Fabrics Group, Inc., Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget and UniCharm Corporation among others.