China and the US remain the world’s two largest retail consumer tissue markets, by volume and value, together accounting for nearly half of all global consumer tissue sales in 2018. However, while the US continues to struggle with significant structural challenges, China sees healthy projections ahead.
In the US, in volume terms, the retail market saw a decline in 2018, and it is projected to remain largely in negative territory over the next five years. As key macro-fundamentals shape demand and retail sales, slowing economic projections and persistent low levels of population growth (well under 1% annually) will continue to impact the industry. Furthermore, the Euromonitor Industry Forecasting model predicts that US-China trade wars are likely to shave some growth off going forward. While the downgrade in projections due to trade wars is not likely to be significant, any further slowdown in an already sluggish market is not good news. Trade wars can and likely will lead to further increases in prices in retail across consumer goods, in addition to price increases already implemented in 2018, thereby forcing many consumers to re-evaluate their spending priorities and giving cheaper brands and an already strong private label an upper hand once again. Euromonitor consumer lifestyle surveys reveal that many consumers in the US intend to increase their spending in discounters and spend more on private label in 2019.
In fact, the proportion of US respondents planning to increase their spending on private label in the coming 12 months went up from 14% in the 2011 survey to 17% in the 2017 survey to 19% in the 2019 survey.
China is expected to add another two million plus tonnes in incremental retail sales of consumer tissue