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NEW YORK - The global consumption of wetlaid nonwovens will grow at a rate of 6% (tonnes), 6.5% (m2), and 6.4% ($) from 2020-2025 with the slightly slower growth rates reflecting maturing markets for many wetlaid end uses, including both new and traditional applications, according to a new report.

The report from Smithers, The Future of Wetlaid Nonwovens to 2025 also shows that the global consumption of wetlaid nonwovens in 2020 will be 606,200 tonnes or 15.0 billion square metres (m2), amounting to a value of around US$1.8 billion.

Growth rates for 2015–20 were 6.5% (tonnes), 6.5% (m2) and 6.8% ($) with these increased growth rates illustrating the rapid growth of the now included hydroentangled wetlaid segment used primarily in the flushable personal care wipes market.

The report considers the impact of the global political and economic issues, including slowing growth in China and parts of Europe, the ongoing ‘trade war’ between the US and China, and sanctions against Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea.

However, the report also notes that the sector will be affected by market issues, primarily substitution by spunlaid and other nonwovens, in some of the older, established markets. However, wetlaid is also participating in some of the newest nonwoven applications.

The report reviews the wetlaid nonwovens markets and processes, with the new inclusion of the important hydroentangled process variant. Other variants included are DRC (double recrepe) wetlaid, glass fibre-based wetlaid, all-synthetic fibre wetlaid and standard synthetic/pulp wetlaid.

Smithers’ analysis for ‘The Future of Wetlaid Nonwovens to 2025’ identifies the following major key drivers for the future growth of the global wetlaid nonwovens industry over the next five years:

  • User requirements play a key part in growth of the industry, with demand for some products that have specific performance requirements being driven by consumers or users. These include: Single-serve tea/coffee filters, Battery separators, Bio-material filtration.
  • The sustainability movement is global and growing. The one constant is a growing desire among global consumers, companies and governments for more sustainable products. Thinking of wetlaid nonwovens as an efficient converter of low-cost sustainable, and eventually non-plastic, fibre into high-performance products offers a future need for this process.
  • One of the retail trends in the marketplace in 2020 is the replacement of lower performance and lower cost products with higher performance and lower cost, sustainable products. The cost and sustainability of wetlaid will continue to make it a growing choice in select segments of the rapidly growing wipes market through to 2025.


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