What you need to know

The feminine hygiene, adult incontinence and sanitary protection category has seen slow and steady growth in recent years, driven by a rise in recorded advertising spend as well as NPD. In 2015, the value of the market stood at £433 million, a 1% increase on 2014 (£428 million).

The category is likely to continue to enjoy growth in the future, buoyed by an ageing population in greater need of incontinence products. This is in addition to a number of advertising campaigns on the theme of female empowerment, and the growing acceptability of conversations around women’s issues and menstruation.

Products covered in this report

Sanitary protection (“Sanpro”)

  • Tampons, including both applicator and non-applicator tampons. Also includes scented tampons and those with other added benefits, such as lubricated.

  • Sanitary towels, including versions with or without wings, and those that also include wipes such as Always Silk Collection + Wipe. Includes reusable towels such as Eco Femme, although this is very niche.

  • Panty liners are also included, as they can be used with tampons or throughout the month to protect underwear.

Feminine hygiene products (“Fem hygiene”)

Throughout the report, ‘feminine hygiene products’ refers to feminine washes and wipes that are pH-balanced and hypoallergenic. It also includes intimate deodorants produced especially for the vaginal area which have been gynaecologically tested.

Adult incontinence

Incontinence products, including briefs and pads. With regards to market sizing and segment performance, the total adult incontinence market is covered within the scope of this report (including products for men and women). However, for the purposes of the sampling, only women were surveyed for this report.


  • Ancillary products such as disposal bags and tampon containers, or wallets and belts.

  • Men’s usage and attitudes towards adult incontinence.

The term ‘internal’ refers to tampons (whether digital or applicator), while ‘external’ refers to towels of any kind (including sanitary and incontinence), as well as panty liners.

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