Adult Diaper Sales to Out-Pace Baby Diapers in Future

As Americans gets older, the need for adult diapers will increase even more with sales to outpace baby diapers. Aging and health issues will grow, placing an even bigger demand for long-term care and related services.

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Adult Diaper Sales to Out-Pace Baby Diapers in Future
3 Min Read February 10th, 2016 Updated:August 25th, 2022

Americans are getting old! The Census Bureau says the centenarian population has grown more than 65% nationwide over the past three decades. The 90+ age group is the fastest-growing age demographic in the United States. As more Americans age and live longer than ever expected, it presents problems and opportunities. One of those opportunities is the growth market for adult diapers.

The adult diaper market in North America reached a value of $4.4 Billion in 2020. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7% through 2026. The growth is primarily due to a growing older population. Adult diapers become necessary due to complications with aging and health conditions like mobility impairment, incontinence, or severe diarrhea.

"At present, North America represents one of the leading adult diaper markets globally owing to its increasing population and rising awareness among consumers about the attributes offered by adult diapers. In addition to this, with sedentary lifestyles, high per capita income, and increasing consumption of frozen, packaged, and fast food, most of the population in the region suffer from obesity which, in turn, is leading to a high rate of adult incontinence." 

Adult Diaper Sales Will Out-Pace Baby Diapers

Bloomberg Business reported sales of adult incontinence garments in the U.S. could equal those of baby diapers in a decade. Kimberly-Clark's Huggies diapers is a global leader in sales. With billions of dollars in annual sales worldwide, one would think there is a baby boom. However, a huge product line is for Depends. 

Some younger people require this product for various health conditions, but longevity has driven the need for adult diapers. Bloomberg says growth in the adult-diaper market is outpacing that of every other paper-based household staple in the United States. 

Euromonitor International forecasts a 48% increase in sales in the category, to $2.7 billion in 2020 from $1.8 billion in 2019. That compares with expected growth of 2.6%, to $6.3 billion, during that period for baby diapers.

In the next decade, diapers' sales for adults could surpass those for babies at Kimberly-Clark and rival Procter & Gamble. As birthrates fall and life spans lengthen, there will be plenty of room for expansion because babies grow out of diapers, but incontinent adults usually don't.

With lower birth rates and longer longevity, demand for products and long-term care services will increase. With lower birth rates and longer longevity, demand for products and long-term care services will increase. There will also be fewer care providers because of demographics. This will put more pressure on products and services serving these older Americans. 

More adults have chronic diseases such as bladder cancer, kidney disease, endocrine, and urological disorders. Aging and declining health are boosting the demand for adult diapers and disposable incontinence products. Products such as pads and adult diapers are absorbent products for incontinence and are widely used.

One in Three Adults Have Bladder Control Issues

According to the Urology Care Foundation, as many as 1 in 3 adults—more than 80% of them women—have bladder control issues. Mayo Clinic reports the reasons for the problem include aging, health conditions such as diabetes and obesity and issues with pregnancy and childbirth.

The market for products and services for aging Americans is growing. As we age, more people will require long-term health care. Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Adult Day Care, Home Health Agencies, and health supplies that provide products to support those services are all on a growth track.

Should You or a Loved One Use Adult Diapers?

Experts say it depends on the severity of your issue and if you have urinary or fecal incontinence. Some people find they can handle minimal leakage with disposable pads if someone has urinary. But if your condition is more severe or you have fecal incontinence, adult diapers will become necessary.

"It depends on how much it bothers you. If you are soaking through clothes or regular hygiene pads it might be time to consider adult diapers."

Cecile Ferrando, MD, Cleveland Clinic

Long-Term Health Care Costs Will Increase

More and more Americans will need long-term care services. The growing need for long-term health care places a risk on retirement savings. It provides opportunities for investors who service these aging Americans.

The cost of long-term health care services will increase in the decades due to the incredible demand for services and family members' inability to provide the care needed for parents. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the current and future cost of care services throughout the country.

While this will place financial burdens on many, products like Long-Term Care Insurance will provide benefits to pay for these costs. Many Americans are also investing in companies offering this sector's products and services.

Experts suggest obtaining Long-Term Care Insurance coverage before retirement, ideally in your 40s or 50s, since plans are medically underwritten and priced, in part, by age at application. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

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Aging and the consequences of aging are a reality facing many American families. Your family and finances will be impacted by future long-term health care. Being prepared will protect your income and assets, reduce family stress, and give you access to quality care services, including in-home care.

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Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew," will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

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