Sales of sanitary protection products have increased by more than 50 per cent in four years, according to a new report by Mintel.
The growth of the market, now worth about 273m and divided between internal and external protection, has been largely driven by product innovation and the launch of Procter & Gamble’s Always range in 1992.
P&G has more than half the external sanitary protection market, having taken share from rival brands and own-label.
Johnson & Johnson has been particularly hard hit. It saw a 26 per cent decline in share between 1992 and 1994.
Advertising spend in the sector has risen from 6.4m in 1990 to 20.1m this year, representing 7.4 per cent of the total value of retail sales.
The report found that external products accounted for 58 per cent of the market by value in 1994. This represents a growth of three per cent since 1990, with some consumers switching from tampons to new external products.
The report predicts steady growth in the sanpro market over the next five years, fuelled by product innovation.
Tambrands in the US is about to launch a new all-cotton tampon called Tampax Naturals, backed by an estimated $28m (18m) marketing budget.
The move is seen as part of a plan to reclaim share from the sanitary towel market, which stole ground in the wake of the discovery of “toxic shock syndrome” ten years ago. The company is also considering launching the brand in the UK.