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BRUSSELS – Nonwovens production in greater Europe decreased in both volume and surface area, according to the latest figures from European trade association, EDANA.

The latest figures in EDANA’s Statistics Report on Nonwovens Production and Deliveries for 2023, show that volume dropped by 5.7% to 2,864,840 tonnes, and by 5.5% in surface area resulting in 81.7 billion square metres of nonwovens being manufactured.

However, EDANA also noted that differing trends were observed at the national level when comparing production between greater European countries, and also when assessing the various production processes of nonwovens and market segments.

Expanding on the data, Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, commented: “European nonwovens production recorded its second consecutive decline since it peaked in 2021, however, it is necessary to refine the data further and assess the trends according to the different production processes.

“For drylaid, the production of thermally and chemically bonded nonwovens both demonstrated a double-digit decline. The production of polymer-based nonwovens decreased again, but remained above its 2019 level, despite a severe decrease in meltblown stand-alone materials.

“Meanwhile some production processes, such as drylaid-hydroentangled and short-fibres airlaid, stayed flat or slightly above their respective levels for the previous year.”

From the end-use perspective, analysing 2023 data by market segment also illustrates a different conclusion with Prigneaux highlighting major trends regarding European manufacturers global sales: “If we consider sales both within and outside Europe, segments such as hygiene, medical (other applications than face masks), building construction, filtration, and electronic materials significantly decreased compared to their 2022 levels, but were either at the same level as or above figures observed in 2019,” he added, noting that overall, the wipes’ market, including personal care, industrial, and household segments, was stable (+0.9%).

“There were some noticeable exceptions in other applications, where nonwovens sales recovered: automotive interiors (+3.7%), agriculture (+7.7%), table linen (+4.2%), cotton pads (+6.8%), personal protective garments (+10%) and packaging (+9.5%).”

Prigneaux also noted that trends for surface area data can be different, as the product’s weight is also important. “As a result, EDANA’s figures in square metres continue to provide our member companies with important information year after year,” he said.

“EDANA would like to thank its member companies – especially new members – for participating in this annual survey and for delivering their information and data on time. An increased membership base, combined with continuous monitoring of the industry, makes EDANA’s statistics a valuable business tool for all its member companies across the nonwovens value chain.”

EDANA also noted that the data is not shared externally and that Prigneaux will present an overview of the key findings at the inaugural EDANA Innovation Forum in Munich, Germany in June 2024. In the meantime, a summary report – 2023 European Nonwovens Markets Insights – will be made available soon for EDANA members.

The EDANA Innovation Forum will explore the significance of innovation for nonwovens and what it entails.

“The Forum will address topics from why innovation fails to technological innovations and is the perfect place for participants to network, collaborate, and lead the way in today's dynamic nonwovens business landscape,” EDANA added. “Throughout the Forum, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and exchange with other attendees be it by engaging in discussions at the tabletops or during the evening reception.”

The forum is now open for registration and the full programme is available online. 


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