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Adult Diaper Sales Are On Their Way to Huge Growth

February 11, 2016, 1:32 PM UTC
Kimberly-Clark Corp. Products Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

This post has been updated to reflect comment from Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark.

Adult diapers are gaining popularity.

In the five years ending in 2020, sales are expected to have grown by almost 50%. At that pace, Bloomberg reports that adult diapers—products aimed not at seniors or babies, but mostly at middle-aged women—could overtake the baby diaper market in a decade.

The growth isn’t due so much to population aging as it is marketing. Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Procter & Gamble (PG), which are largely responsible for the $6.2 billion baby diaper market, have introduced new products and marketing in the past couple years aimed at non-senior adults with bladder leakage. Many of the companies’ new brand ambassadors for the marketing push, like 52-year-old Sheryl Underwood, are in their 40s and 50s.

The products target adults, especially women, who suffer from bladder leakage due to childbirth, obesity, or other issues that come with an aging body, according to Bloomberg. Products like Depend Silhouette and Always Discreet are thinner and designed for minor leaks rather than full-on protection.

Since P&G introduced its new line of Always Discreet products in the summer of 2014, the company says that the category growth rate has more than doubled to 10%. “Before Always Discreet entered the category, only one in nine were using an incontinence product,” spokesperson Heather Valento said in a statement. “Since we introduced Always Discreet, more women are aware of and using a solution for bladder leaks—now one in seven vs. one in nine.”

Kimberly-Clark expects “mid-to-high” single-digit growth in the category this year, according to spokesperson Terry Balluck. “As the incontinence category leader, the Depend brand is committed to breaking category stigmas, changing the bladder leakage conversation, and understanding and innovating to meet the needs of those who live with bladder leakage,” she said in a statement.