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UK cotton market dominated by private label brands

Industry Sector

Consumer Goods


30 November 2012


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The UK cotton market has been forecast to see an annual decrease in constant value terms through to 2016, with sales set to hit £74 million, down £5 million when compared to 2011.

In 2011 consumers became increasingly aware of organic and alternative products. This is due to the fact that there is a wider offer in supermarkets; particularly private label. However, value-added products remain niche and most consumers still look for the cheap option.

Furthermore, cotton remained a very mature and saturated category of tissue and hygiene, posing an increasing challenge for manufacturers.

In terms of the most popular format, cotton pads led, as these remain popular for cosmetic purposes, such as removing make-up. Cotton buds also generated the highest value growth as there is no obvious alternative product to cotton buds, which are basic products that are used in large quantities.

However, with more healthcare professionals taking a stance against using cotton buds, as they push the ear wax further into the ear, instead of the ear naturally getting rid of the wax, sales of cotton buds have declined.Cotton wool

The two key companies offering branded products remained Johnson & Johnson and Robinson Healthcare. Both experienced a slight slowdown in sales during 2010, with value shares of 5% and 3% respectively.

Private label dominated cotton wool/buds/pads in 2011. As a matter of fact, private label products' share remained fairly stable, accounting for 88% of retail value sales in 2011.

Rising competition for pads coming from personal wipes as well as the challenge to come up with innovations, are amongst the main obstacles the UK cotton market will experience in the future.

For more information on the UK cotton market, see the latest research: UK Cotton Market

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