Changing trends in the adult diaper market

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Given the business I'm in, I probably read more newspaper headlines each day than most. If something catches my eye, I'll explore the article to see what hidden nuggets of information I can glean.

That was most assuredly the case this week with the following headline.

"Sales of adult diapers in the U.S. could equal those of baby diapers in a decade"

As a proud Baby Boomer, I know the statistics on our aging population. I know the pressure on Social Security and the growing concern over medical care and coverage for those of us in the seasoned senior category.

But to be honest, the issue of adult diapers has been no more than an occasional punch line for a politically incorrect stab at humor.

Those in the know predict a 48 percent increase in the sales of adult diapers in the next four years. That translates into almost $3 billion in annual sales in the adult diaper category.

To my surprise, I've learned that one in three adults - mostly women - have bladder control issues.

As the article says, "To tap that market, manufacturers have rolled out marketing campaigns to make a leaky bladder seem almost fashionable."

There's even a rap video promoting adult diapers and "underwareness".

Isn't that clever.

But it's not just we seniors who are being targeted for this emerging market. Younger adults in their 40s or 50s are being told that the new slimmer diaper products are fashionable to wear.

To drive home that point, the new marketing campaign has abandoned older actors in favor of younger ones.

I know a little bit about aging. And what I know is not always pleasant. All of us who have been blessed to reach a certain age recognize our limitations.

Yet the subject of adult diapers is not a hot topic of discussion. Though that may well change in the not-so-distant future.

The bottom line - pardon the pun - is somewhat about profits. It seems that the average cost of an adult disposable diaper is currently about $1.20. The same baby diaper averages less than a quarter each.

I'm not sure whether I should laugh or cry about the growing prospect of widespread adult diaper usage. But it matters little how I feel, the reality is what it is.

But be very careful not to laugh at the notion of adult diapers. Or sneeze. Or cough.

Laughing, sneezing and coughing can rapidly make you a candidate for this new fashion trend.

Ha! Ha!

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