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India’s Away-From-Home tissue and hygiene sales is growing at 16% in current value terms (2014) to reach `5.9 billion. This is largely contributed by the increase in the number of hotels, corporate offices and IT facilities besides key growth factors, including changing lifestyles, rising healthcare expenditure, increasing population, steady rise in global GNI and low penetration of substitutes for paper tissues. However, at the ground level, tissues are yet to make its mark in the Indian market. Clean India Journal assesses the global and Indian trends of AFH tissues.

AFH tissue and hygiene market in India is more of a mixed bag with certain segments in the retail and institutional space making a planned buy while a large part has “more important things to do than worry about a toilet paper”. Viewed more as a commodity that is “optional” and negligible, than an essential product of hygiene, the Indian tissue consumption market is yet to reach the “necessity” mark.

Tissue paper is a lightweight and has become one of the most essential commodities of daily life worldwide. Tissue paper products are generally made from three main types of raw material: Woodfree (or chemical) pulp, Wood-containing (or mechanical) pulp and recovered paper. The tissue paper came into use in the 1920s and since then the consumption of tissue paper has been consistently increasing. The continuous developments in the tissue paper industry have enabled individuals to lead a more sterile and hygienic life.

AFH tissue and hygiene is predicted to see an 8% value CAGR at constant 2014 prices over the forecast period. This growth forecast is attributed to improved demand in second- and third-tier cities in India.

Manufacturers really need to invest in advertising and marketing campaigns which educate the consumer as to the benefits of using toilet paper over more traditional methods.

The Global Tissue Paper market registering growth at a CAGR of 4.9% over the period 2012-2016, shows that whilst in developed economies tissue products are viewed generally as an inexpensive necessity, the same cannot be said for India. Toilet paper products are viewed as luxury items and as a result per capita consumption levels are extremely low, at 0.007kg per person. Even in West India, which is much more developed than the other three regions and where per capita income levels are comparatively high, consumption levels are still extremely low at a mere 0.013kg per year. Indians prefer to use water to cleanse after visiting the toilet as they believe toilet paper to be less hygienic.

The revenue generated by sales in 2007 was extremely low – US$9 million. However, as many parts of India continue to benefit from the influx of foreign investment, Western cultural habits are being picked up by an increasingly educated population. This in itself will help to drive growth.

However, manufacturers really need to invest in advertising and marketing campaigns which educate the consumer as to the benefits of using toilet paper over more traditional methods. During 2007 manufacturers continued to make use of promotions to encourage product trial of toilet paper; however without marketing support this strategy is bound to fail as consumers will not buy a product they neither want nor understand, no matter now cheap it is.

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