When marketing researchers Euromonitor mapped the world's consumption of toilet paper, diapers and sanitary products, it captured some interesting aspects of our global demography and relative wealth.
Think hygienic paper products like toilet paper, diapers, incontinence items and women's sanitary products. The market researchers were looking at the financial prospects, like the ability of diapers for all ages to generate up to $22 billion in U.S. dollars by 2018.
But the map also tells a tale of age: Mexico and Southeast Asia use a lot of diapers because their populations are quite young, while aging Western Europe and Japan consumer a fair amount of incontinence products. And while more Chinese are aging, Euromonitor says the key market there is still wealthier developed countries. It predicts that "the key to higher category growth will be raising product awareness and normalizing consumption."
"Interestingly, feminine hygiene products sell best in Muslim countries like Iran and Pakistan," writes Lydia DePillis of the Washington Post in an article titled "How toilet paper explains the world."
She says this as well: "You'll also notice that prosperous, dynamic economies like the United States, Canada, Brazil and South Africa buy a lot of toilet paper, which would tend to correlate with a high number of bathrooms per capita."
On the map, Australia purchases a lot of kitchen towels. So does Chile. No one's opining on what that might mean.
Speaking of toilet paper, an Australian company, Toilet Paper Man, has come up with a roll made of 22-carat gold. No takers so far on the single roll, perhaps because of its $1.3 million price.
The Daily News suggests the item might appeal to those who want to throw their money straight down the toilet.
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