As the number of incontinence sufferers increases, the topic of incontinence is getting more and more notice. Adult incontinence products – diapers, pads, absorbent underwear – represent a large product category in the global medical disposables market and their business attractiveness is luring more and more players in the market, in particular wholesalers and retailers.
Aging population, a better understanding of incontinence and a better consumer awareness of products available, are driving the steady growing demand: this is turning incontinence products into a real business opportunity.
However, starting up a business distributing incontinence products does not bring immediate results. Whereas market statistics are promising, entering incontinence market entails carefully assessing different aspects, also when business operators are familiar with selling and distributing medical supplies. What are the main problems that may arise and what is the best way to set up a profitable business? We share our opinion and tips from experience.
Why betting on incontinence products
1. Growing demand
Incontinence products are turning into common consumer products and their presence is bound to surpass that of baby diapers , particularly in retailer stores. This is evenmore evident in the institutional market, i.e distribution to healthcare facilities, pharmacies and rest homes. Volumes of both retail and institutional market are growing, driven by factors such as:
- Aging population and the resulting increasing need for products to help manage the challenges of aging;
- Better understanding of incontinence symptoms and awareness of how to deal with them;
- Increasing number of younger and more active incontinence sufferers who look for high quality, comfortable and discreet products to continue to have a carefree lifestyle.
Experienced manufacturers are paying closest attention to consumer’s specific needs for comfort and device performance and are investing in product innovation, of both light and heavy incontinence aids, one of the key factors to boost product adoption and market penetration.
2. A stronger relationship with customers
Disposable medical products represent the largest segment within the global healthcare supplies sector and they constitute an ongoing, predictable and scalable revenue stream for a distributor.
Adult incontinence products are an important part of this market segment. Since they are used regularly for a long time, this is an opportunity, for retailers and distributors, to strengthen customer retention and loyalty.
Expected difficulties when entering incontinence products market
Despite the many advantages, entering incontinence products market and getting positive results is not easy and effortless. The highest hurdle, that new players may encounter, is customer’s resistance to something new.
In the case of incontinence products, resistance has two implications: uncertainty towards a new supplier and brand, accentuated by consumer’s feel of the new product compared to the one they were accustomed to.
When using a new brand for the first time, a patient’s body experience a different sensation. This is a natural reaction. However, it may cause insecurity and this feeling is reported back to caregivers. As a result, a negative feedback is quite frequently based on sensations rather than facts.
How to deal with negative feedback?
While diapers and pads of different brands may look the same to non-professionals, in reality every manufacturers design and shape their own products differently. It is therefore natural that wearing different brands feels, initially, different.
It is important to provide the best product to every incontinence sufferers, considering their specific needs, their size, as well as a device’s absorbency and level of detention of liquid. If a higher spending capacity is possible, it is better to provide devices with a breathable outer layer.
Incontinence market is not all about selling products. It is much more.
It means providing a real caregiving system management. Among other factors, this service should aim to help patients and their caregivers to overcome their insecurity. That is why we suggest that companies that deal with incontinence products should employ nurses or paramedics. Those professionals are an incredible asset that can efficiently deal with patients and healthcare institutions.
Facing this market segment adequately guarantees a successful business plan and the desired benefits. Providing a full-scale service, of which products are but a part, is a must-do. It is fundamental to propose a management system or educate people about a management system of incontinence and incontinence patients. One of the services that you can implement, or provide, is a software that can help institutions to manage incontinence.
The fact remains that incontinence sufferers wear their diapers or pads and they have expectations in terms of comfort and safety. It is natural that consumers feel the difference between brands. However, don’t get discourage, their reaction may also be positive and in favour of the brand you provide.
Lastly, plan carefully which market segment your business should focuse on – light or heavy incontinence, retail stores, pharmacies, wholesales, healthcare facilieties or rest homes, etc. – but do not expect immediate results, or get discouraged if it takes time for your business to pick up. Even if demand for incontinence products is growing, any new player face competition.
Get started right now!
If you are planning to distribute incontinence products, offering a value is a key strategy for new players and manufacturers are your best asset. Aim at setting up a true partnership that can match your business model plan.
When choosing the best manufacturer , first consider quality systems of the suppliers (certifications), the most performing range of incontinence products for your targeted market, other services offered, delivery schedule, end user’s customer service, consultation services on how to manage incontinence.