Medical Nonwovens Market to Grow to $2 billion by 2018

The global consumption of all medical nonwovens is valued at $1.5 billion in 2013 and is forecast to grow to $2 billion by 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1%

The new study - The Future of Medical Nonwovens to 2018 - covers the time frame 2008-2018, examining market trends for the historical period 2008-2013 and presenting market forecasts for the period 2013-2018, giving data in value terms, tonnage, and square metreage. The study breaks down the global market for medical nonwovens by process technology, by end use, by raw material base, and by geographic region.

Traditionally, medical nonwovens have consisted of surgical gowns, drapes and packs; sterile packaging and wraps; wound care; other disposable apparel such as patient gowns, nurses' and doctors' gowns; face masks; shoe and hair covers; and other medical materials such as isolation drapes. In the study, nonwovens used in incontinence products for institutionalized users (mainly medical underpads) and nonwovens used in healthcare industrial wipes (used primarily by hospitals and healthcare institutions) are also included.

Surgical drapes and gowns is the largest medical nonwovens end use globally, as well as in most regions, with global consumption valued at $889.2 million in 2013 and a forecasted value of over $1 billion in 2018, growing at an annual rate of 3.9% from 2013-2018. Incontinence products are globally the second largest end use as well as the fastest growing end use, with an annual growth rate of 8.2% from 2013-2018.

Figure 1 Global consumption of medical nonwovens by end use, 2008, 2013 and 2018 forecast ($ million)

Source: Smithers Apex

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 almost 71% of all medical nonwoven tonnes in 2013. The massive reliance of medical nonwovens on spunlaid nonwovens, and especially spunlaid polypropylene nonwovens, makes polypropylene the key material. It accounts 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 reduced price, reduced laundering and distribution costs, reduced treatment time for the patient or labour savings for the healthcare provider.

The study identifies six key trends which are driving the market for medical nonwovens; these include continuing replacement of reusable (textile-based) medical fabrics by disposable (nonwovens-based) medical fabrics, increasing responsibility of hospitals and institutions for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), increasing emphasis on cost control for healthcare, increasing potential for pandemic outbreaks, increasing age of global populations increasing the need for assisted care and incontinence products, and increasing availability of modern healthcare to emerging market regions.

Based on extensive primary research, The Future of Medical Nonwovens to 2018 presents a complete review of the nonwovens market for medical applications, process technologies and product applications. This comprehensive study breaks down the medical nonwovens market with analysis of the latest technology developments and exclusive nonwovens industry forecasts.