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Thread: How many people buy diapers?

  1. #1

    Default How many people buy diapers?

    I was wondering, how many people buy diapers regularly do you think, for whatever purpose.

    I only ask because within 3 sq. miles of my house there must be at least 8 stores that sell them, (depends or cvs/walgreen, nothing good) and I mean they MUST sell them because its common knowlage, if a store doesnt sell enough of something, then they dont order any more of it. Then on the other hand I RARELY see someone going to the checkout line with a bag, but i know I at least try to do it when there is no one else up there, so the fact of not seeing anyone doesnt really supprise me. And THen the sites the sell on the internet, must be selling a fair amount or they wouldnt sell either...

    So How many people do you think buy diapers regularly, discuss, answer any way you want to.

  2. #2


    Considering that 1 in 4 women (and I think it's around one in 6 or 7 men?) experience some form of incontinence at some point in their life and that the population over 80 is fairly sizable, I would image that there are quite a few people who buy them because they need them.

  3. #3


    In the US, 25 million adults experience incontinence, of those 25 million, only one-thirds actually use treatments and products to manage there incontinence.
    (In my head) that comes out to rougly 8 million adults who are attempting to manage there incontinence. Although I dont have any statistics on the percentage that uses diapers, I would expect that a majority of those use some sort of absorbent product, and that a minority use catheters and other means.
    In a perfect world, if we were to average out incontinence across all the whole country, the average would be 160,000 who manage, per state. Averaging this out is unrealistic, because California has a population of 37,253,956 (largest in the US), but we will get at least a minimum number. The rate would be 1 in 232 of people who manage there incontinence in CA. CA happens to be 234 square miles, so on average, it is my assumption that there is at least one adult per square mile who uses some sort of diaper. Realistically, that number would be waaaaaaay higher if you live in a city.

    Just Walmart alone has 4300 stores in the US, so if all people managing there incontinence was to buy diapers from Walmart, that would average out to 1860 people per walmart. I know of at least 15 other stores in my area that carry adult diaper, so if I had to guess, I would say that it averages out to something around 30-50 people per store who use diapers, and I would guess that 75% of these people actually do buy diapers at these stores on a weekly basses. You are also going to have to factor in the best deals, as since incontinence products are not cheap, most are going to try to find the best deal, so out of those 15 stores in my area, if 3 stores are popular for there price of diapers, there will be a high demand at those stores, seeing as people buying diapers at a store is indeed rare compared to the other products they sell. Stores having a overstock of adult diapers probably isnt going to happen, so at those popular stores, your likely to see empty adult diaper shelves most of the time.

    (note I am only guessing for fun, not actually using sound math and sources to figure this out)

  4. #4


    I just went through and looked up some statistics as well--they quote from 13 million up to 33 million people in the U.S.A. suffer from urinary incontinence to degrees varying from light stress incontinence to full loss of bladder control. I can understand how the numbers can vary so greatly--it can be an embarrassing topic to bring up with a doctor, especially since continence is supposed to be achieved during the first few years of life.

    With a population of the U.S.A. at 307 million and looking at the product mix on the shelves, I would hazard a guess that the 1/3 figure is about right for those using absorbent products of some sort, and of those, maybe 8-10% need full diapers. That would translate to between 3/4 and 1 million people who are buying diapers across the country--one in every three or four hundred. If you wanted to go so far as to say that most people facing incontinence are the elderly who are often in nursing homes, you could probably bring the number of people buying adult diapers down to 300 to 400 thousand.

    Start factoring in mail or internet ordering and quality of diapers (lower absorbency products mean changing more often), and start hand-waving. Go for 400 thousand buying their diapers, not in institutions or care facilities, and say 30 diapers a week (cheap diapers can be six or more per day, good ones are as few as two) and that is 12 million adult diapers per week used across the country. At an average of 24 diapers a pack, that's half a million packages. If they were sold only at Wal-mart, that would be roughly 120 packages sold per store every week. Take that down by a factor of five to cover purchasing at other retailers (as said, people will often go for the best price over all else), and you get to thre eto four packages a day sold--enough to need to keep stocking daily and about the amount you actually see on the shelves at stores.

    Wow, the math worked out.

  5. #5

  6. #6


    I purchase my own diapers. Usually I have my 2.5 year old cousin with me to make it less obvious to people - or I buy online in bulk.

  7. #7


    I buy goodnites about once every 2-3 or sometimes 4 weeks. Traveling up town is easy cause all I have to do is go up to the town with a backpack, my bank card and a hoody and Roberts your mothers brother I have diapers, I have seen multiple times when mothers of small children and babies are carrying massive packs of huggies or pampers, but that doesn't really count as they arent for older people

  8. #8


    I pack of 20ish normally lasts me a few months because I hit binges and purges and eventually I make my way through them.

    I have seen the target audience for depends/serenity purchasing them with some frequency though.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogRTO View Post
    Wow, the math worked out.
    Only as a loose theory, but I have been thinking about this and how it all can be figured out. The problem is that there are to many variables that we will never be able to find statistics on, so this is as close as I could come to a solid answer. The problem still is that a person can still poke a hundred holes in it. One of my large assumptions is that people buy incontinence products once a week, or that it averages out to once per week. Another assuption is that on average people go threw 5 briefs per day and that the average number of briefs in a pack is 20

    A = Number of incontinent people who manage with absorbent incontinence products (any)
    B = Number of retail sales per year of adult absorbent incontinence products
    C = Sample of area stores, estimate of the total empty space were there should be incontinence products, total for all stores
    D = Estimate of empty space for briefs only(how many that you think should be there to reasonable fill the shelf)
    E = Number of stores you sampled from
    F = The question of the average number of people buying adult briefs in stores


    In order to get anywhere near a correct sample of products being sold, they would need to get the correct figures from a sample of stores. If you were to figure this out by the empty space on shelves, one would need to figure this out by making notes of this over time and averaging it all out, incase they just restocked the shelves.
    Last edited by racer; 22-Jan-2011 at 02:42.

  10. #10


    This is a great thread! I know that I never really thought about it but with the value of retail space being measured in the linear inch and any productive item being soon dropped from the planogram a store like my neighborhood Walmart that gives over eight running feet to adult diapers must be making pretty darn good money on them with good turnover. I do know that quite often my size will be out of stock on their shelves.

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