Diapers and New Masculinity

of three

Diaper Category STEEP Analysis

The internal and external drivers that will impact the future of the US diaper category are falling birthrate, price wars, buying power, declining industry performance, consumers' increasing environmental concerns, environmental regulations, and state regulations.

US diaper industry drivers

1. Social

  • Falling US birthrate:
    • Since 2008, the US birthrate began to drop, which can be due to better access to contraceptives and younger Americans having babies later in their lives.
    • According to IBIS World, the number of children aged 9 and below is expected to remain stagnant in 2018, posing a potential threat to the diaper industry.
  • Millennial moms:
    • Millennial parents are critical consumer targets and in 2017, nearly 90% of births were to millennial moms.
    • Millennials are more educated than previous generations and are the most educated women.

  • Diaper wars:
    • In 2017, P&G controlled 43% of the market and Kimberly grabbed 35%, according to Euromonitor.
    • Also, there are challenges from private label brands.
    • The price war among players is expected due to overcapacity.

2. Technological

  • Consumers adherence to technology:
    • A survey from the National Retail Federation found that 78% of millennial parents are much more likely than other parents to use their smartphones to research products.
    • Millennial dads turn to YouTube for parenting guidance, according to Ipsos Research.

  • R&D smart diapers:
    • Research using smart technology can drive change in the diaper market. For example, P&G is conducting research on identifying "pee points" to improve absorbency.
    • According to a Fact.MR report, smart baby diaper development will influence demand and drive sales for the diaper market.

3. Economic

  • Buying power:
    • According to the State of Babies Yearbook, 45% of babies and toddlers live in low-income households in 2019.
    • About 23% of children in the US under the age of 3 are living in poverty.

  • Economic performance of the diaper industry:
    • There is a decline in the diaper manufacturing industry revenue, number of businesses, and the number of employees as the revenue declined by -0.2%, according to an IBIS World report.
    • The number of businesses in the industry declined by -8%.
    • Furthermore, the number of employees in the diaper manufacturing industry declined by -2.8%.


  • Customer activism:
    • Customer activism poses a rising environmental concern for the diaper category. This is due to increased demand for biodegradable diapers which are made from natural ingredients, eco-friendly, and baby skin-friendly.

  • Environmental regulations:

5. Political

  • Local state regulations:
    • Local state regulations such as the sales tax legislation in 2017, where at least 18 states introduced legislation to eliminate or reduce the rate of the sales tax on diapers.

  • New regulations/laws:
    • An example is the End Diaper Need Act of 2019, where the government will allocate funds to distribute diapers to eligible families.
    • According to a Blue Ocean report, political factors in diaper market include changing policies with new governments, stakeholders such as non-government organizations, protest & pressure groups, activist movements, regulatory practices, and governance system.

Research Strategy:

To provide a STEEP analysis for the diaper industry, we first searched for pre-compiled STEEP analyses. We searched in industry websites such as Global Newswire and PR Newswire but found market reports. STEEP analysis reports were not publicly available. However, we were able to find a PESTEL analysis of P&G and Kimberly-Clark, which are key players in the industry (although not on the whole industry). We used this as a guide instead, in conducting our research and in presenting our findings.

We then looked for market reports and news topics on the diaper industry to corroborate data from the articles we found that highlighted the drivers for the diaper industry. We determined that these are drivers based on the articles and based on the PESTEL analysis report.
of three

Diaper Category Trends

Based on trusted news and websites, the following are the current four trends in the diaper category in the United States: Flat sales, brand loyalty, traditional brands still dominate online sales and private label.

Flat Sales

  • In the past 5 years, the revenue of Diaper Manufacturing Industry has declined by -0.2 percent to reach $13 billion.
  • Svetlana Uduslivaia, the head of industry research at Euromonitor International, says that diaper slump will be "normal for the foreseeable future" and the main reason is that America's birth rate has been at its lowest in the past three decades.
  • IBIS noted that the number of babies is the most significant determinant for the demand for diapers and this has a direct effect on the number of purchases.
  • The number of employees in the United States diaper industry has declined by -2.8 percent. Kimberly-Clark, one of the leading companies in the diapers industry, laid off 13 percent of its workforce and closed 10 manufacturing plants in an effort to save money. Its CEO, Thomas Falk, says that "You can’t encourage moms to use more diapers in a developed market where the babies aren’t being born."

Brand loyalty

  • Morning Star analyst, Erin Lash, noted that parents are extremely brand-loyal with regard to the diapers they are using and this is so if they don't have any issues or accidents.
  • Marketwatch noted consumers are most loyal when it comes to diapers.
  • Pampers launched an app for loyalty rewards program in an effort to build and maintain its brand loyalty.
  • According to Statista, 21 percent of diaper consumers never changed the product they are using and 37 percent tried different products but used one product afterward. This shows that 58 percent (sum of 21 percent and 37 percent) stick to one diaper product.

Traditional brands still dominate GROWING Online sales

  • There are lots of brands that offer eco-friendly diapering options to the consumers despite traditional disposable diapers still leading at 89 percent when it comes to online sales. From the list, Pampers is the leading traditional diaper with the highest online sales capturing 55 percent of the total online market.
  • Even at a slow pace, online sales of diapers is growing. This growth is reported at 9 percent year-over-year which is around half of the rate of all commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.
  • According to IBISWorld, online baby product sales industry which retails goods for infants and toddlers that include diapers did forecast to increase its revenue very fast at an annualized rate of 10.4 percent to $7.5 billion over the five years to 2018.

Rise of Private Label brands

  • In 2018, The Procter & Gamble Co and Kimberly-Clark still led nappies/diapers/pants in value terms. However, both players were challenged by the rise of the premium segment and private label.
  • Amazon increased its consumer package growth by 80 percent through private labeling.
  • Consumers are pushing private labeling of brands so that they get cheaper prices. Private labeled brands are as much as 20 percent cheaper. Amazon also offers its private labeled diapers and baby food at 20 percent off to attract more shoppers.
of three

New Masculinity

The new masculinity movement is, fundamentally, a movement that seeks to identify, and strip away, the toxic vestiges of traditional conceptions of masculinity. Seven key topics and areas of discussion around this movement include male anger and aggression, rape culture, collective socialization, occupational masculinity, progressive masculinity, patriarchy, and men's mental health. Below, we have provided a brief overview of each of these topics, followed by an explanation of our research methodology.

Male Anger and Aggression

  • The activists and groups that populate the new masculinity movement often begin their efforts to defuse toxic masculinity by attempting to curb "anger and aggression;" while the movement encompasses much more, this is frequently an important first step.
  • University of Akron professor emeritus of psychology Ronald F. Levant explains that from an early age, "boys are encouraged to push down any emotion other than anger," meaning that anger and aggression often mask other emotions in those afflicted with toxic masculinity.
  • In many cases, this acceptance — and even expectation — of anger and aggression in lieu of any other emotion leads men to commit violent acts.
  • To break down this cornerstone of toxic masculinity, new masculinity activists are helping men learn about "being in touch with [their] emotions and not being afraid to be vulnerable," thereby subverting the traditional proclivity toward anger.

Rape Culture

  • The new masculinity movement is seeking to shed light on how traditional, toxic masculinity supports and fuels rape culture. Rape culture is defined as "an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture...perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety."
  • Traditional conceptions of masculinity can fuel this state of affairs directly — for example, a recent study found that those who adhere to traditional notions of masculinity are less likely to report cases of rape. Similarly, men afflicted with toxic masculinity are likely to ignore the fact that sex without consent is rape.
  • However, the connection between traditional masculinity and rape culture is often more insidious, and new masculinity groups seek to show men how, even if they are not rapists themselves, "they might be part of a larger system of inequality that makes sexual assault a rampant problem."
  • Groups like Men Can Stop Rape, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, and ReThink, among others, are elements of the new masculinity movement attempting to bring this issue to light.

Collective Socialization

  • Collective socialization refers to the often-subtle process of creating norms through language and actions. In the context of traditional norms around masculinity, one minor example of this is the use of the term "man of the house" to suggest that men are, by default, the primary authority figures in a household.
  • The new masculinity group A Call to Men calls the traditional norms around masculinity created via this process of collective socialization "The Man Box." It is a concept that intersects with all others in this area, as The Man Box consists of norms that deter men from showing emotions (besides anger), lead them to consciously or subconsciously perpetuate rape culture, and result in their exhibiting all the other deleterious hallmarks of toxic masculinity.
  • Fundamentally, the collective socialization around the traditional masculine ideal — A Call to Men's "The Man Box" — teaches that "men and boys don’t ask for, offer or accept help...[and] always act like [they] have everything under control." This immutable insistence on stoicism, toughness, and self-reliance can be damaging not only to men's mental health, but to the health and safety of everyone in their lives.

Occupational Masculinity

  • New masculinity activists utilize the concept of 'occupational masculinity' to describe how the negative features of toxic masculinity function in the workplace, making work environments more uncomfortable for, and damaging the career prospects of, women or men who do not conform to traditional male norms — or even making the workplace more physically dangerous.
  • A common example of occupational masculinity is exhibited by bouncers who "use aggression and physical dominance to keep the peace in bars and clubs," an approach that "has been shown to increase violence between bouncers and clientele."
  • Similarly, sexual harassment and assault perpetrated in the workplace by men — Harvey Weinstein is the most prominent example among many — are examples of occupational masculinity, though new masculinity advocates also seek to shed light on how traditional norms around masculinity often lead men to be "silent about the men who do behave that way," even if they aren't committing the acts themselves.
  • While women often bear the brunt of occupational masculinity's damaging effects, studies have shown that men, too, can face challenges as a result of traditional masculine norms in the workplace, particularly when they do not embody those norms themselves.

Progressive Masculinity

  • Progressive masculinity is a concept put forth by new masculinity groups that is juxtaposed with toxic masculinity, and seeks to exhibit all the qualities it lacks.
  • In particular, progressive masculinity is, to a large degree, about breaking out of "The Man Box," by "being in touch with your emotions and not being afraid to be vulnerable."
  • Progressive masculinity calls upon men to discard the collective socialization that has constructed traditional male ideals, and all the linguistic vestiges that constitute it, such as "take it like a man."


  • The concept of a patriarchy long precedes the new masculinity movement, and, like 'toxic masculinity,' it has become politically fraught and is rejected by many. Men's group attendee Nelson Melina articulates this rejection as such: "I don't subscribe to this idea that we live in a system of victims and oppressors. There are different games that can be played in life, you have advantages in some, you have disadvantages in others."
  • The new masculinity movement seeks to demonstrate that patriarchy can manifest itself in ways subtler and more insidious than what many people picture when they hear the term. For example, author V. Shraya explains that she felt obligated "to reveal a single traumatic event" in her book I'm Afraid of Men, but in reality "patriarchal oppression goes beyond single acts" and manifests in a persistent, "ever-present danger."
  • Like rape culture, patriarchy is not only about actions themselves, but about the cultural biases and collective socialization that makes those actions possible. Ultimately, like toxic masculinity, patriarchy can be deleterious to women and men alike.

Men's Mental Health and Loneliness

  • While the new masculinity movement often focuses on the harmful effects of toxic masculinity vis-à-vis women, it also highlights how traditional masculine norms have wreaked havoc on the state of men's mental health.
  • New masculinity advocates highlight how toxic masculinity and the collectively-socialized traditional male ideal propagates depression, anxiety, and, ultimately, skyrocketing rates of suicide among men.
  • Similarly, members of the new masculinity movement point to traditional conceptions of masculinity, with their pressure on men to remain emotionally isolated and stoic in the face of pain or sadness, ultimately fuels rising feelings of loneliness amongst men, in turn fueling many of toxic masculinity's harmful effects like prevalent anger and aggression.

Your research team employed the following strategy:

To determine key topics and areas of discussion around the 'new masculinity' movement, we first conducted an extensive review of various source material related to this movement. Our research in this regard encompassed three main types of source material: media reports on the movement, of which there have been many in the past year; academic literature relating to the movement and its primary beliefs; and materials provided by organizations within the movement. After reviewing a range of sources on this topic, we selected seven topics and areas of discussion that appear to be foundational in this area. We then examined additional sources to provide increased information and context around each individual topic and area of discussion.

From Part 01
  • "America's birth rate is at its lowest level in three decades. That's a problem for Pampers and Huggies."
  • "The downturn caused disposable diaper and training pant sales to fall almost 6% from April 2017 to 2018, according to Nielsen's most recent brick-and-mortar retail scanner data."
  • "The millennial wave (of parents) is impacting the baby diaper market in the U.S., and it is unlike any previous wave. Millennials approach parenting, and the shopping that comes with it, with a different set of priorities and way of evaluating products. A new crop of startup companies founded by millennials has emerged to lead the way in showing how to position baby diapers in ways that appeal most to millennial parents. "
  • "One parenting research expert, Rebecca Parlakian of the parent and early childhood advocacy organization Zero-to-Three, describes millennial parents as “high-information parents.” Ipsos research found that 86% of millennial dads turn to YouTube for “guidance on key parenting topics,” and three in four of all millennial parents say they are open to videos by brands or companies on YouTube when “seeking guidance on parenting topics.”"
  • " When Forbes conducted a broad survey of millennials in March 2018, they found that “60% of millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality – the brand must speak to them and make them feel good.” Euclid surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers and found that, among millennials, 52% were more inclined to purchase from brands that mirrored their values and politics, compared to just 35% of baby boomers."
  • "Over the past five years, the Diaper Manufacturing industry has declined by -0.2% to reach revenue of $13bn in 2018. In the same timeframe, the number of businesses has declined by -8.0% and the number of employees has declined by -2.8%."
  • "The number of children aged nine and under is expected to remain stagnant in 2018, posing a potential threat to the industry."
  • "In 2017, at least 18 states introduced legislation to eliminate or reduce the rate of the sales tax on diapers. Of those states, six are members of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP), a voluntary coalition of 23 states committed to certain standards of uniformity in their sales tax practices."
  • "Until last fall, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) specifically included diapers in its definition of “clothing.” As a result, unless a member state exempted all clothing from its sales tax base, it could not exempt diapers without violating the SSUTA."
  • "The End Diaper Need Act of 2019—introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rep. DeLauro—would create a demonstration program for distributing diaper in states, communities and nonprofit organizations. Distributors would have discretion on how to implement the program, and how to best distribute diapers to eligible families in their communities."
  • "As many as 45 percent of infants and toddlers live in poor or low-income households, challenging their ability to meet basic needs like diapers."
  • "Just 20.6 percent of families with infants and toddlers experiencing poverty are receiving support from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families."
  • "The global smart diapers market is expected to be driven by the fact that the industry continuously looks forward to adoption of technology. The past few years has seen change in demographic structure globally. Increase in number of nuclear families, female workers, and aging population are creating a positive impact on the growth of the smart diapers market. "
  • "One of the key trends in the smart diapers market is technology enhancement. Procter & Gamble (P&G) are trying to identify the “pee points” in both boys and girls diapers to improve absorbency. The company is also trying to come up with zero leakage and ultimate comfort. The newest trend in the smart diapers market is diaper alert with smart phone application that alerts parents when their babies wet the diaper."
From Part 02
  • " America’s birth rate is at its lowest level in three decades. That’s a problem for Pampers and Huggies."
  • "The downturn caused disposable diaper and training pant sales to fall almost 6% from April 2017 to 2018, according to Nielsen’s most recent brick-and-mortar retail scanner data."
  • "“Parents are extremely brand loyal when it comes to products for their kids,” said Morningstar analyst Erin Lash. “If a diaper works and you don’t have accidents or issues when you’re out with your child, you probably will stick with it.”"
  • "Despite a wide variety of eco-friendly diapering options available to consumers, 89 percent of online diaper sales are of traditional disposable diaper brands, led by Pampers, which comprises 55 percent of the total online market. Overall, diaper sales account for 2.2 percent of all consumer packaged goods sold online, and the average person spends between $74 and $101 per year on them."
  • "Sales fell flat in 2017, hurt by recalls and product changes; new CEO says startup is ‘getting out of businesses we can’t win in’"
  • "Consumers are most loyal about laundry and diaper brands, least loyal about trash bags and paper towels "
  • "In 2018, The Procter & Gamble Co and Kimberly-Clark still led nappies/diapers/pants in value terms. However, both players were challenged by the rise of the premium segment and private label."
  • "After Amazon Elements nappies/diapers were unsuccessful in 2015, Amazon quietly re-entered the category for the second time with its Mama Bear private label line in 2017. Mama Bear sells nappies/diapers in various sizes and ships free to Prime members."
  • "Over the past five years, the Diaper Manufacturing industry has declined by -0.2% to reach revenue of $13bn in 2018. In the same timeframe, the number of businesses has declined by -8.0% and the number of employees has declined by -2.8%."
  • "The number of babies born in the United States is the most important determinant of demand for industry operators. Given the limited number of alternatives to diapers and the small contribution by imports, growth in the number of children directly leads to increased purchases of industry products. The number of births is expected to increase slowly in 2018, presenting a potential opportunity for the industry."
  • "Pampers, the disposable diapers from Procter & Gamble that rank as the one of the world's most valuable brands, replaced its old mobile app with a new one that now offers loyalty rewards. Consumers earns points every time they buy Pampers products, including diapers, training pants and wipes. "
From Part 03