GDM Protective Underwear

Why in EU and the US Protective Underwear is flying off the shelves

  • Adult Inco market: volumes, segments and trends
    • The Golden Age of the Silver Society
  • Adult Inco market: needs and drivers
  • AP5 Grey: GDM’s answer to the Adult Inco market

Adult Inco market: volumes, segments and trends

The global market for Adult Incontinence Care products is forecast to reach $14 bn by 2023 [1]. In 2019, the US accounted for $2.2 bn, with sales projected to hit $2.76 bn by 2024 [2].  Collectively, the US and Europe represent the largest market worldwide with a combined share of 53.8%. [3] 

Despite the social stigma, urinary incontinence is a widespread problem. If it were a country, it would be the third largest in the world [4] . As per the Global Forum of Incontinence 2018 [5], over 423 mn people, roughly 8.7% of the global population, suffer from incontinence: in the age range 20+, 303 mn are women (≈12,4% of the global feminine population), while 121 mn are men (≈5% of global masculine population).
North America accounts for 37 mn incontinent people (i.e. 9% of the population in the region) and Europe for 57 mn (9.9% of the population in the region).

The purchasing drivers in the Adult Inco market are many, with increasing longevity in the lead: thanks to continuous progress in healthcare and life science, life expectancy keeps increasing across all countries [6], resulting in an ever-wider group of people getting to old age. 
Consumer awareness is equally important. Other than the ageing population, the Adult Inco market in North America and Europe is greater than in developing countries also thanks to high consumer awareness on sanitary & hygiene products [7]. That said, there’s plenty of room to grow, as over 50% of people suffering from urinary incontinence are currently not being treated nor they do seek help [8]

Last but not least, a major factor to consider is the rising focus on active lifestyles: the so-called Silver Society, is leading a much richer life than ever before in terms of experiences and opportunities. Also, the internet makes it possible to browse (and purchase) a wealth of Inco Care products privately at home. 

The Golden Age of the Silver Society

The Silver Society is much more than an age category: it is the manifestation of a long-term demographic trend that is turning seniority into a second youth[9] - the young old age
Historically speaking, this is the Golden Age of the Silver Society: life expectancy at birth keeps rising and so it is the quality of life. People are not only living longer, they are also remaining healthy for longer and in a comfortable financial position. 

Perhaps for this reason, the Silver Society has the highest level of life satisfaction of all age groups. Their desire for self-determination is only matched but their independence. As a matter of fact, continuous learning, recreation, leisure time, keeping in touch with the social network and starting new activities are becoming more and more important. Work is also key, as a huge part of the Silver Society wants to continue working past 65. 

In a nutshell, it is not a stretch to say that the senior citizens today constitute the most powerful group by size and economic significance in developed countries. Therefore, the Silver Society represents a golden market opportunity for Adult Inco product manufacturers.

Adult Inco market: needs and drivers

For the Adult Inco customer, discretion is paramount. As of today, although decreasing, there is still embarrassment among adults about urinary incontinence. That is why Protective Underwear has blown up. Indeed, it is perceived by the public to be akin to traditional underwear, making it the ideal solution in a market such as that of the Silver Society. 

The elderly appreciate the opportunity to buy Protective Underwear from the comfort of their home and value the product as it lets them go on with their life without being much of a nuisance. Linked to this is the demand for comfort, breathability and skin friendliness. Protective Underwear is optimal in this regard, since it’s slim and fits no worse than a real underwear. 

In parallel, personalisation is quickly taking hold. The elderly are often very demanding customers and take the breadth of choice into great consideration - an opportunity that is furtherly enabled by online shops that let the customer pick a color or their favoured features among a wide variety of options. Because of this, flexibility, i.e. the possibility to change size and product, is the most important feature for Protective Underwear machines.

AP5 Grey: GDM’s Protective Underwear to tackle the Adult Inco market

To address the evolving needs of the Adult Inco market, GDM has introduced a dedicated product the AP5 Grey line – production speed at 500 ppm. 
The machine is characterized by:

  • Flexibility to ease size and product change for a wider range of materials

In this regard, we have won the INDEX20™ Innovation Award in the Innovation in Machinery section for our Expandable Welding Wheel, enabling to produce an extended number of sizes with the same unit: the solution is composed by welding stations mounted onto a wheel-like system allowing high speed operation and zero time size change.

  • Ease of use and intuitive processes thanks to the linear layout of the machine
  • Superior core quality: thinner, more absorbent and discreet product enabling logistic and raw material savings
  • Improved process control on key product features (i.e. side seam welding and core formation) and relevant production steps (i.e. pad application) for higher quality
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) through the highest level of OEE and reduction of material waste
  • Turn-key solution with SB60 packaging machine

Are you considering tapping into the Silver Society market opportunity? Then get in touch with us and discover more about our AP5 Grey machine!


[1] Source:Euromonitor
[2] Source:Nonwovens Industry
[3] Source:Globe Newswire
[4] Source:Economist Intelligence Unit
[5] Source:GFI Forum 2018
[6] Source:Our World In Data
[7] Source:Future Market Insights
[8] Source:GFI Forum 2018
[9] Source:Vontobel Investment Banking
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