The Changing Nature of the Menstrual Product Industry in India
Adapted from ‘India’s personal hygiene market: Challenges and opportunity’ by Srijana Bagaria from Financial Express. Available at: https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/indias-personal-hygiene-market-challenges-and-opportunity/1790059/
A considerable increase in disposable income for younger generations in India has led to a rise in innovation in nearly every industry, including that of personal hygiene. The national intimate care market has expanded to nearly US $3 billion and is anticipated to reach $5.3 billion by 2025. The nature of products driving this expansion is changing, as there is a growing inclination among consumers to buy items which are more environmentally responsible and ethically produced.
Products void of ingredients such as parabens, alcohol, SLS and other potentially harmful chemicals are appealing to a consumer base which is becoming immune to targeted marketing tactics and beginning to care more and more about product labels. This has led to new developments in a field where innovation had remained stagnant for many years. New products are being made to cater to consumer priorities, including environmental health and social issues.
Now, menstruators are concerned not only about purchasing feminine hygiene products that allow them to maintain their personal hygiene, but are also interested in buying products which suit their lifestyle and are consistent with their morals and ideals. Products such as biodegradable tampons and pads have emerged on the market to fit this need.
Internationally, the menstrual product market represents US $36 billion, but industry experts posit that there is still room for expansion due to the large number of women globally who do not yet have access to these sanitary products. In India, for example, just 18% of menstruating women use sanitary napkins.
A significant factor preventing many people from accessing appropriate menstrual products is the pervasive social stigma surrounding menstruation that still exists around the world. This has also limited market expansion.
Although sustainable and healthier options exist over traditional disposable products, lack of knowledge regarding the proper use of menstrual products in general, as well as the advantages of organic and biodegradable products, has prevented the sustainable menstruation industry from reaching its full potential as of yet. But while progress on the front of sustainable menstruation has been slow thus far, changing consumer demographics and priorities is sure to lead to a more accelerated shift in the future. Consumers are beginning to demand that products cater to their needs, to the benefit of both people and planet.