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Cotton Buds Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Spindle Material (Paper, Plastic, Wood), By Applications (Households, Spa & Salons, Hospitals & Medical Labs, Others), By Distribution Channel (Hypermarkets & Supermarkets, Convenience Stores, Online Stores, Others) and regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Region :Global | Report ID: FBI103856 | Status : Ongoing



Cotton buds are the most commonly used handheld product for ear cleaning purposes. Growing consumer awareness regarding benefits of cotton buds is prominently driving the growth of the market. Nowadays, companies are introducing the spindle of cotton swabs made up of recycled plastic or paper material to offer environmentally sustainable & biodegradable personal care products to consumers. Cotton buds are essentially being used in the medical & research labs during the COVID-19 testing process of the different blood samples, hence, the demand for cotton buds has been exponentially increased during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Manufacturers are largely focusing on managing the quality of the cotton raw material to make an effective cotton wrap for either side of the bud’s spindle. In the process of manufacturing of cotton buds, plastic caps are attached to both ends of the spindle rod to avoid incidences of injury to the ear. Cotton swab makers are largely selling paper-based buds in order to avoid the littering of the beaches & riverbanks by reducing the usage of the plastic-based straws & buds. For Instance, in January 2018, Morrisons Ltd. unveiled the plan to phase out the plastic stem cotton buds & plastic straws with the production of the paper-based straws & cotton buds.

 Large preferences for personal health & hygiene products are expected to drive the demand for the cotton buds. According to Cosmetic Europe-The Personal care Association research’s data 2017, 94% of the people maintain hygiene for their wellbeing in Europe. Also, the escalating rate of urbanization & the income of the global population fuel the long-term demand for such products. Besides this, growing infrastructural facilities such as hospitals & clinics have given a favorable growth in the consumption of the cotton buds as a first aid product.

Additionally, the rising beauty & make-up industry has shaped the demand for the swabs as a make-up removal tool by the make-up artists & beauty practitioners. Increasing distribution facilities such as retail stores, shopping malls, and brand stores has supported the revenue generated from the cotton buds. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, as of 2019, about153,237 number of convenience stores were present in the United States.

However, increasing incidences of the ear injury occurred due to the repeated usage of cotton buds and usage of the wooden cotton swabs is likely to limit the market growth.  

Key Market Driver -

Increasing demand for the personal health & hygiene products is expected to drive the market growth.

Key Market Restraint -

Adverse effects on ear is anticipated to restrain the market growth.

Key Players Covered:

The key players operating in the global cotton buds market are, Johnson & Johnson Pvt. Ltd., Muji Europe Holdings Ltd., Unilever Plc., Organyc Italia, H3D, Desert Online General Trading LLC., Daiso Industries Co. Ltd., BAMBAW, Azadea Group, TOUCH WOOD INDUSTRIES, Artsana S.P.A., Morrisons Ltd., Tesco, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd., ASDA, Aldi Stores Ltd., LIDL, Boots Company Plc, Superdrugs Store Plc, etc.  

The global cotton buds market is segmented by spindle material, applications, distribution channels, and geography.

By spindle material, the market is segmented into paper, plastic, and wood. The paper segment is expected to hold a major share of the market owing to the easy bio-degradability of the paper cotton buds which results in the least marine pollution as compared to other types of materials. This has led to increasing preference for paper-based cotton buds by people.

Based on applications, the market is segmented into households, spa & salons, hospitals & medical labs, and others such as schools, and offices. The household segment is projected to witness a favourable growth in the global market owing to the increasing usage of the cotton swabs in daily household ear cleaning needs. Additionally, cotton buds are widely used in households for artwork and decoration activities.

By distribution channels, the global market is segmented into channels such as hypermarkets & supermarkets, convenience stores, online stores, and others. The convenience stores segment is anticipated to hold a considerable share of the global market as these stores are easily accessible to the people. Additionally, limited availability of personal hygiene products helps the consumer to quickly purchase these products which thereby, drive the demand for these segments.

Regional Analysis:

By geography, the global cotton buds or cotton swabs market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa.

European region is expected to hold the largest share of the global cotton buds market owing to the large consumption of the cotton buds in countries such as the United Kingdom (U.K.), Spain, and Germany. According to the data published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in October 2018, it is estimated that 1.8 billion stemmed cotton buds are consumed by England every year. Additionally, increasing spending for the skin & body care products is likely to fuel the demand for the cotton swabs in the region. According to the estimated data British Beauty Council, in the U.K., Consumer spending for the skin & body care products has increased to USD 2452.06 million in 2018.

Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at a faster rate owing to the growing utilization of the cotton required for the production of the cotton-based earbuds. This helped to flourish the revenues from India, Philippine, and Chinese markets. According to the U.S., Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA), in the financial year of 2018-19, India consumed 25 million 480 lb. bales of raw cotton material which was increased by 0.3 million 480 lb. bales from 2017-18.  

The large production rate of the cotton steamed buds in the South East Asian region because of the abundance of raw material and availability of lower-cost labor has also supported the market growth in the region.

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By Spindle Material

  • Paper

  • Plastic

  • Wood

By Applications

  • Households

  • Spa & Salons

  • Hospitals & Medical Labs

  • Others

By Distribution Channel

  • Hypermarkets & Supermarkets

  • Convenience Stores

  • Online Stores

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, U.K., Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, Australia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Rest of South America)

  • Middle East & Africa (South Africa, UAE, and Rest of ME&A)

Key Industry Developments

  • In June 2020, UNCL Health launched a 3D printed cotton swab for the COVID-19 testing purposes in South California.

  • In September 2019, Johnson & Johnson shifted their production from the plastic-based cotton buds to paper-based cotton buds in order to reduce marine pollution caused due to the usage of the plastic-based buds. This is likely to increase the demand for paper-based cotton buds.

  • Ongoing
  • 2023
  • 2019-2022

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