Behavior Change
Plastic Straws Are on the Path to Extinction; You’ll Never Guess What’s Next

The global feminine hygiene market accounted for $31.23 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $62.84 billion by 2026. To stay relevant in this booming sector, investment in developing products responsive to these changing consumer demands is not only smart, it’s imperative.

No market is safe from demands for sustainability — even those accustomed to a dependably loyal consumer base. That’s the key warning to consumer goods brands arising from a new study finding environmental and health concerns are driving women to change how they manage their monthly periods.

As new research from sustainability marketing firm Shelton Group found, approximately 40 percent of women have either switched or are considering switching from traditional, disposable pads and tampons to non-disposable, reusable feminine hygiene products.

Yoni is one of a growing number of new brands offering organic cotton tampons and pads, free of the toxic ingredients found in conventional products | Image credit: Yoni

The study is perhaps the first look behind the curtain at the surge of organic and reusable feminine hygiene products popping up on shelves in recent years, from silicone menstrual cups to washable, period-proof panties. It found that:

  • 17 percent of women say they’ve made the switch to using non-disposable period products

  • 23 percent of women say they’re considering making the switch to non-disposables

Young women between 18-34 years old are largely driving the movement, citing environmental and health concerns about traditional, disposable period products.

That’s a key demographic, and perceptive brands should take note. If established brands such as Procter & Gamble’s Tampax don’t get their own reusable options onto the shelf, more and more consumers are willing to abandon their brand loyalties in favor of new brands responsive to environmental concerns.

And sustainability awareness is only growing more important to consumers of all ages. Nearly all women in the study indicated some level of worry for the fate of the environment. Tellingly, “plastic waste in landfills” ranked as the top environmental concern about disposable feminine hygiene products among all respondents, regardless of if they’ve switched to reusables. The study found that greater concern for impact on the environment and waste reduction correlated strongly with the decision to change to reusable period products.

The global feminine hygiene market accounted for $31.23 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $62.84 billion by 2026. To stay relevant in this booming sector, investment in developing products responsive to these changing consumer demands is not only smart, it’s imperative.

The good news is that the time to act is now. Sustainability awareness — especially around the impacts of single-use products and packaging — is trending, and companies are winning public praise for jumping in the arena and working to create more responsible products and non-disposable options. It’s not only a warning sign to manufacturers of disposable products, but a neon-light flashing “opportunity.”

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