Where Consumers Shop for Tissue and Hygiene

April 2024

Sales of tissue and hygiene are dominated by offline retailers, mainly driven by supermarkets, pharmacies and hypermarkets. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has been thriving with increasing acceptance from broader consumer groups among generations and improvement in delivery services from retailers and last-mile players. This report delves into the performance of different retail channels for sales of tissue and hygiene and analyses retailers’ activities.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Global tissue and hygiene sales grow in 2023, despite negative external factors 

The world tissue and hygiene market continued to grow in constant value terms in 2022 and 2023, showing resilience in the context of the ongoing negative forces threatening the industry, such as high inflation, the impact of war on supply chains, climate change, and currency devaluations. Toilet paper – the biggest category globally – continued to drive industry growth. Paper towels, however, recorded the highest rate in 2023.

Modern grocery retailers, ie supermarkets and hypermarkets, lead store-based retail in 2023

Supermarkets remains the leading offline channel globally. This leadership comes from the large number of outlets in this format, the vast assortment of products across price tiers and the formats the channel is capable of offering. Hypermarkets holds the second largest share for offline tissue and hygiene sales.

E-commerce is the preferred channel among less price-sensitive and, especially, urban consumers

E-commerce continued its strong performance in 2023, by sustaining organic growth across the categories. Asia Pacific is the regional leader in e-commerce sales of tissue and hygiene; China takes the lead in absolute value sales and South Korea is the largest market in terms of the e-commerce share of tissue and hygiene.

Private label as a response to the cost-of-living crisis

Amid ongoing inflationary pressures, discounters and warehouse clubs will gain continued traction as global consumers are more likely to focus on prices. However, some soft drivers will still exist; hybrid working models will sustain demand for home consumption. Private label in North America and Western Europe is still being developed; in other regions it is only yet emerging.


Key findings
Industry developments: Retail tissue
Industry developments: retail hygiene
Demographic factors are key in identifying growth opportunities
Regional market details
The many drivers of inflation within retail tissue and hygiene
Retail offline dominates, but e-commerce continues to attract consumers
Digitisation has facilitated market penetration
Channel shifts to e-commerce differ at category and regional levels
For a segment of the population, no amount of enticement will bring them back into shops
Store-based snapshot in 2023
Dynamic store-based channels
Low unit prices and middle-class cachet are a winning combination for warehouse clubs
Adaptability and diverse alternative brand offerings as key benefits of small local grocers
Walmart leads the way in modern grocery retailing
The pandemic and inflation surge propel private label growth in tissue and hygiene
Importance of private label by region…
…and the reasons why
Internet retailing by category
Companies step further into the digital space
Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark continue making gains in e-commerce
Asia Pacific leading the way in e-commerce
Social marketplaces in Asia Pacific thrive with livestreaming
Grocers’ implementation of hassle-free delivery further solidifies e-commerce attraction
Hybrid working expected to result in higher per capita consumption
Retail hygiene charts resilient growth supported by wellness demand and user-centric innovations
Forecast channel development
US as example: top players’ narrowing lead in e-commerce exposes intensifying competition
Social commerce as a low-barrier incubator for small brands seeking market breakthroughs
Influencer, social marketing helps upstarts pivot in emerging, fast-growth categories
Social commerce platform Douyin shows stronger fragmentation and local competition
Key takeaways

Tissue and Hygiene

This is the aggregation of retail and away-from home tissue and disposable hygiene products as well as Rx/reimbursement adult incontinence.

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