Sumit Khanna Chief Executive, Beeta Tissues

Despite its low global tissue volume share compared with its substantial population, India is projected to grow in volume at an 11% CAGR over 2020- 2025* – outperforming most peers. Here, Sumit Khanna, Chief Executive of New Dehli-based Beeta Tissues, a leading manufacturer and trader of tissue paper in India, discusses the key trends across the country.

When I last wrote for Tissue World Magazine in 2016, India was preparing for an expected surge in tissue demand. Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country was poised for a substantial leap forward. Regional tissue growth rates were already reaching 20-25%, and the new one-party government was clearing away restrictions on manufacturing and allowing international players to enter the market.

Now in 2022, a lot of that potential has been realised. Due to rising disposable incomes, improved institutional infrastructure and rising urbanisation in India, tissue consumption is growing like never before. 

This is especially the case in the hospitality and health care sectors following the outbreak of the pandemic, while it’s not yet possible to say the same for the corporate sector at this time.

What we are seeing is that the kitchen towel market has increased substantially, while the growth in the m-fold towels category is marginal. There is also a high increase in the e-commerce sector following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Projections for future growth

India is now projected to grow in volume at an 11% CAGR over 2020- 2025, as per a recent report by Euromonitor International. Despite the consistent retail inflation occurring, the consumer tissue market continues to grow as households paid greater attention on cleaning and sanitation after the outbreak of Covid-19.

There has since also been a resurgence in domestic and international tourism which has boosted tissue demand further.

How the AfH market has responded to the pandemic

After the decline in consumption for AfH tissue and hygiene in the last two years,
this year seems promising. Schools, hotels and offices are opening up again and there is a huge upsurge in demand for tissues
in this sector.

To my surprise, the hospitality sector has also really picked up due to ‘revenge travelling’! As people are emerging from the pandemic they want to travel anywhere and everywhere, big or small, just to indulge!

Private label has grown only slightly in the past few years

I have observed that every year more and more supermarkets are attracted to getting into the private label market, and to my surprise many of them try and then fail. I personally feel that Indian consumers enjoy buying a branded product more than going for a privately labelled one. However, there are a few private label tissue brands that are doing well in India.

Changing tissues players

After the pandemic, many new players are emerging out of nowhere in retailing and in housekeeping business, but they are struggling to survive due to high competition and continuous price increase.

Pulp pressures, inflation

Due to the constant increase in the price of raw materials there has been tremendous pressure on the converters.

With much more than 50% increases in raw materials, the overall costs of investments have got higher. And with such low market sentiments, expansion plans have also slowed down this year as the converters are more worried about the margin of profit.

I feel there is too much confusion regarding the consistency of prices and sales and profitability for the converters.

Sumit Khanna is the Chief Executive of New Dehli, India-based Beeta Tissues, a leading manufacturer and trader of tissue paper in India.

*According to a recent report by Euromonitor International.