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Opportunities in Russia’s sanitary and hygiene product market

August 1, 2020
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The market is dependent on imports, with demand increasing due to the pandemic.

The Russian market for sanitary and hygiene ware primarily encompasses the following product types:

  • Soap and sanitizer dispensers
  • Paper product dispensers for paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, paper toilet seat covers etc.
  • Electric hand dryers
  • Wall-mounted hand dryers
  • Bathroom accessories (wastebaskets, toilet brushes, toilet paper holders etc.)

The Russian market is dominated by imported products, primarily from China, but some companies—Kimberly-Clark (U.S.), Tork (Sweden) and TORUS (owner of Lime trademark, Russia)—have their own production facilities in Russia.

The main target audience for suppliers of sanitary ware are:

  • Accommodation facilities (hotels, hostels, health resorts etc.)
  • Public catering enterprises (cafes restaurants, dining rooms etc.)
  • Medical institutions (hospitals, clinics, dentists etc.)
  • Business centers, office centers, malls and shopping centers
  • Fitness clubs and gyms
  • Spas and beauty salons
  • Education institutions (kindergartens, schools, colleges, universities etc.)
  • Airports and train stations
  • Gas stations
  • Cultural and artistic institutions (museums, theaters, cinemas, libraries etc.)
  • Architecture, design and construction companies

There are more than 20 local and foreign brands of sanitary and hygiene ware in Russia. Among them, there are both small companies with a turnover of a few dozen million rubles a year and large companies with multi-billion-dollar turnover. The following brands are key players:

  • Kimberly-Clark (U.S.)
  • Tork (Sweden)
  • Lime (Russia)
  • Veiro (Russia)
  • Merida (Poland, also made to order in China)
  • BXG (Russian brand, made to order in China)
  • Ksitex (Russian brand, made to order in China)
  • Binele (Russian brand, made to order in China)
  • Puff (Russia)
  • HÖR (Russia)
  • Nofer (Spain)
  • Jofel (Spain)
  • Saraya (Japan)

Most companies sell their products through dealers and distributors (wholesale and retail trade companies, online stores). Some (such as TORUS and Merida) also have their own branch network.

Depending on the marketing strategy, manufacturers and suppliers of sanitary and hygiene ware can be divided into two main groups. The first group includes manufacturers of paper hygiene products and cosmetic ware. For such companies, dispensers are part of their strategy for the promotion of consumables. They even provide sanitary equipment free of charge when concluding a long-term supply agreement for paper and cosmetic products. These companies include Kimberly-Clark, Tork, Lime and Veiro. The second group includes manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, including electric hand dryers and wall mount hair dryers, who either do not supply consumables or who buy them in bulk from other manufacturers. In this case, the main source of income is sanitary and hygiene equipment itself, not consumables. These companies include Dyson, BXG, Ksitex, Puff, Binele, Jofel and Merida.

Currently due to the pandemic, the sanitary equipment market is experiencing two trends. On the one hand, a significant part of the target audience—hotels, restaurants, business centers—are having significant financial difficulties and therefore reducing their volume of purchases. On the other hand, in connection with the new requirements of Rospotrebnadzor (the Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights), the demand for hygiene dispensers for sanitizers is growing. In this regard, the focus is shifting to other sectors of the target audience. For instance, the need for touchless and elbow-operated dispensers is experienced not only by catering enterprises but also by retail stores from supermarkets to fashion boutiques, medical institutions, fitness clubs, beauty salons and all face-to-face service providers.

The largest Russian industry exhibition for suppliers of sanitary and hygiene ware, CleanExpo Moscow, takes place annually in November.

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