The nonwovens industry in Europe has bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic as production returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA). The association’s Statistics Report on Nonwovens Production and Deliveries for 2022 shows that after a surge in demand for nonwoven materials in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, production in Greater Europe, which includes Western and Eastern European countries, Türkiye, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, is now on a steady growth trend despite the economic and energy crisis, and the war in Europe.
The report reveals that in 2022, nonwovens production in Greater Europe increased in volume by 3.3% to reach 3,017,085 tonnes, and by 9.1% in surface area, resulting in 85.8 billion square meters of nonwovens being manufactured. Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, said that while production of some fibre-based materials, including drylaid, wetlaid, and airlaid technologies, were below the levels observed three years earlier, some processes such as drylaid-hydroentangled and air-through bonding recorded an even higher output in 2022 than in 2021. The production of spunmelt nonwovens was down again after peaking in 2021, but the 2022 output was still 8.1% over its 2019 level.
The report also highlights that the end-use perspective had similar conclusions. Nonwovens market segments such as hygiene, medical, building construction, filtration, electronic materials, and wipes, which were almost flat or had significantly decreased compared with their 2021 levels, were still well over figures observed in 2019. However, some exceptions in other durables applications were noted, where nonwovens sales were still below 2019 levels: automotive interiors (-27.8%), agriculture (-13.1%), and civil engineering (-4.6%).
The report also shows that in 2022, the most notable increase was in table linen applications, which exceeded both 2019 and 2021 levels. Overall, the report indicates that the nonwovens industry in Europe is showing promising signs of recovery from the pandemic, and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.