What Are Consumer Preferences in Baby Wipes?

Mom wiping newborn baby. with cotton wipes

It’s no secret that most parents are judicious when it comes to choosing baby care products. In the past that investigative eye was directed at disposable diapers, but today it’s turned toward baby wipes as well. Baby wipes make up 32% of global wipe sales. And keep in mind that wipes are predicted to be a $2.5 billion business in 2016—and that’s in the U.S. alone. The lesson? If you’re not listening to what consumers are looking for in a baby wipe, or what fiber’s most effective, you’re potentially missing out on a market ripe with potential.

Parents Are the Ultimate Decision-Makers

When it comes to baby wipes, parents have definitive preferences (according to Cotton Incorporated’s findings). The chart below illustrates the product traits that these consumers are looking for, and how their perception of cotton aligns perfectly:

  • 92% of parents find softness important/88% associate softness with cotton
  • 96% of parents find safety (no irritation) important//85% associate safety with cotton
  • 81% of parents find absorbency important/71% associate absorbency with cotton
  • 94% of parents find quality of product important/75% associate quality with cotton

Cotton obviously has the attributes that parents are looking for. An additional statistic that bears this out: 77% of consumers choose cotton as their fiber of choice for wipes.

Is the Seal of Cotton a Difference-Maker?

In continuing with Cotton Incorporated’s findings, retailers are big fans of the Seal of Cotton trademark on packaging. The reasons why are pretty clear:

  • 95% of consumers know exactly what the trademarks means
  • 91% of consumers believe the trademark on packaging means the product contains cotton
  • 90% of consumers believe products featuring the trademark are soft, comfortable, natural, and high-quality.

Once again, these are powerful numbers in support of cotton in wipe applications. With the built-in marketing advantage of the Seal of Cotton, products already have an edge over their competitors. There is no fee to display the Seal of Cotton, your product. It must contain cotton and you need to, file the required paperwork and have the art work for packaging approved by Cotton Incorporated.

Important Performance Comparisons

That same Cotton Incorporated piece also compared cotton to rayon and polypropylene for wipe performance. In four key categories, cotton prevailed. In fact, the only advantage over cotton went to polypropylene in dry strength—which is typically not an important factor for baby wipes. While wet strength was a close win for cotton, in absorbency, cleaning, and softness, cotton was a clear winner. This means the consumer-preferred status of cotton discussed in the previous paragraphs is validated by true performance.

Let Consumers Be Your Compass

For baby wipes products—existing options and new ones coming down the pipe—it’s hard to argue against the use of purified cotton when its superior performance and customer-preferred status make it such an obvious choice. Using synthetic fibers might cause you and your company to miss out on a burgeoning global market. But as big as it is, consumers rule the day. Hopefully what parents want isn’t falling on deaf product development ears.


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