Nonwovens are typically characterized by their web forming process: drylaid, airlaid, wetlaid, and spunlaid. Spunlaid is by far the most dominant process for producing medical nonwovens, accounting for over 70% of all medical nonwoven tonnage in 2013. The massive reliance of medical nonwovens on spunlaid nonwovens, and especially spunlaid polypropylene nonwovens, makes PP the key material. It accounted for over 68% of all raw materials used in medical nonwovens in 2013. Nonwovens used in medical applications are growing primarily because of strong key drivers which address performance, cost and market composition. Medical products based on nonwovens routinely outperform textile- and fluff pulp-based products in comfort, barrier properties, absorbency and resistance to contamination. They also routinely demonstrate reduced cost to use in highly cost-sensitive hospital and institutional environments, either through outright lower prices, reduced laundering and distribution costs, reduced treatment time for the patient, or labor savings for the healthcare provider.
Driven by growing production of baby diapers on account of increasing birth rate particularly in Asia Pacific, the global nonwoven fabrics market is expected to reach US$42.1 bln by 2020, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. Increasing construction spending in emerging economies of China, India and Brazil is also expected to have a positive influence on the market growth. Volatile prices of key raw materials are expected to remain a key challenge for market participants over the next six years. Polypropylene nonwoven fabrics were the highest consumed product segment accounted for over 60% of total market demand in 2013. PP nonwoven fabrics are also expected to witness highest growth rate over the next six years. Increasing birth rates in emerging markets of India and China and increasing geriatric population in countries such as USA, UK, Germany and Japan have driven the demand for baby diapers and adult incontinence products respectively. Increasing demand for baby diapers and adult incontinence products is expected to drive polypropylene nonwoven fabrics demand. Further key findings from the study suggest:
A report based on the global market for nonwoven materials and products by Transparency Market Research states that the market will grow at a modest CAGR of 6.7% between 2013 and 2019. It is forecast that the market, which earned revenues worth US$28,783.8 mln in 2012, will cross revenues of US$45,363.7 mln in 2019. The report states that an increased global demand for nonwoven materials and products from the medical and healthcare industry is largely responsible for the steady growth of the market in the near future. However, according to a TMR analyst, “Issues regarding the volatility of these products and saturation of the market in developed countries could act as a restraining factor for the market. The report segments the global non woven materials and products market on the basis of key products, chief application areas, and key regional markets. The segment of products is further divided into polypropylene, nylon, polyester, bio-component fibers, nano-fibers and cellulosics. Of these, polypropylene nonwoven fabric held the largest share of market revenue and had a net worth of US$16,438.7 mln in 2012. A huge application base of polypropylene nonwoven fabrics in the global market will continue to heighten its demand, leading to the segment's growth at a CAGR of 6.7% between 2013 and 2019 to reach a market worth of US$25,808.2 mln by 2019. The segment of application areas is further fragmented into disposable (medical products, filters, and disposable wipes) and durables (geotextiles, home furnishings, and wall coverings). Of the key application areas for nonwoven materials and products, durables accumulated the largest share of revenue acquired by the market in 2012. According to the report, this segment generated revenue worth US$17,716.0 mln in 2012 and is expected to reach US$28,335.6 mln in 2019, registering a CAGR of 7% between 2013 and 2019. Disposables have observed a sharp rise in demand for medical disposables over the past few years. The medical disposables segment will continue to result in increased demand for nonwoven materials and products in the forecast period as well. For a region-based analysis, the global market is segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Rest of the World. Of these, the regional market for Asia Pacific acquired the largest share of demand for nonwoven materials and products in 2012, owing to rising demand from the medical, agriculture, and construction industries in the region.
Nonwoven materials will continue to see healthy growth in global markets for the next several years, with medical and filtration applications continuing to be mainstay drivers of expanding use. The market for nonwovens for filtration end-markets is forecast to grow from US$3.5 bln in 2014 to US$4.6 bln in 2019 at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6%, according to a new study by Smithers Apex. At the same time, the worldwide market for medical nonwovens is forecast to reach US$2 billion in four years. The slow and uneven recovery of global economies after the recession has had a significant impact upon the growth of nonwovens for filtration. With some of the key markets in automotive and construction still growing slowly in some regions, filtration nonwovens have had to aggressively replace older filter media materials, like paper and textiles, as well as enhance performance in order to maintain growth. The study shows that the market for filtration nonwovens is growing because of both the overall growth in the filtration market and the replacement of textile and paper filter media. Despite problems in the global economic recovery, the filtration market as a whole has still seen positive growth due to some of the key end-uses for filter media being driven by the increasing demand for cleaner water and air, for protection against pandemic diseases, and for energy conservation.