Why do no major brick and mortar retailers (in the US) sell premium adult diapers?

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INTrePid

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I still find it baffling that virtually all major brick and mortar (non-online) retailers in the US sell only Depends and the same generic store brand everywhere. How did Kimberly-Clark get such a monopoly? I've heard a lot of good of theories as to why Depends and store brand diapers suck, but to me the more interesting question is why there's no real competition in stores from better products. If Dry 24/7 can be successful online, why can't it be on shelf next to the Depends? They're both made by American companies. Does the market simply not support it? Are the costs of entry too high? I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for lack of decent diapers in stores.

How did anyone get premium diapers before the Internet? :dunno:
 

Spaz

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How did anyone get premium diapers before the Internet? :dunno:

Premium adult disposables were virtually non-existent prior to 1990. As the early brands came from Europe there was a shift away from stocking better diapers in medical supply stores and pharmacies to only being able to mail order or (by the late 90's) order through the internet.

Ever see a Molicare pack in a medical supply store? I have. They are ridiculously expensive. And, they just didn't sell. I can't support this with actual data, but I believe the vast majority of Americans prefer a discreet "brief" and are not extremely incontinent. In other words, mild incontinence from an aging population, combined with diaper stigmatism and the strong arm tactics of a few companies to keep costs down has kept cheap disposables in every grocery in the U.S. and actual diapers on the web where they can be ordered discreetly, kept in large warehouses and shipped directly to the user and fulfill the needs of a smaller market that either needs or wants thicker diapers.

Sure you can't walk in to a CVS and grab a good quality diaper, but who cares when todays selection of diapers over the internet is vastly improved from a just a decade ago. If Bambino Bellissimos cost nearly $2 a diaper online, can you imagine how much they would cost at a pharmacy and who but an AB or the most thick skinned incontinent person would buy them?
 

Akastus

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Possibly because premium nappies as we define them are aimed at people who suffer from heavy incontinence, who are a minority. Depends, like children's bed-wetting pants, are consumer products with a large market, whereas premium nappies like Abena and Dry 24/7 are deemed specialist medical products, with a sales volume too small for major retailers to regard them as a profitable use of shelf space. Not to mention that the major consumers of premium nappies are going to be hospitals and care homes, and they don't have a problem ordering in bulk from specialist medical catalogue stores. There's no particular incentive for big retailers to stock premium diapers, and the manufacturers of them do perfectly good business without having to bother with the pressures of selling through a major retailer. Believe me, if you can do good business without getting yourself enmeshed in supermarket supply chains, then you should be happy with that. The way that some retailers treat their suppliers is akin to slavery.

Besides, before the Internet, users of premium nappies didn't really have a way of getting together to express an opinion on the quality of the available products. The thing about heavy incontinence products that you have to remember is that 90% of the time, the people who are buying them are not the end-users, and therefore don't care quite as much about comfort and performance, merely price. The major reason that ABDL nappies are so good is because it's the end-user that's actually paying for them, so their opinion has enormous influence on the product.

And the embarrassment factor shouldn't be overlooked. It's one thing to admit to light bladder weakness when you're a retiree, or a very young child, but I would imagine that most people would be terribly embarrassed to be buying products that advertise that they are majorly incontinent when shopping at a major store - where they might potentially bump into people that they know....
 
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Blimey, the situation seems to have changed then. I was under the impression that americans malls had large adult diaper sections containing many brands, the pharmacies may be a bit one-brand focused but I hope things haven't changed in the malls. This is me speaking as a UK resident very excited about american shopping, the last time I was in American I was so young I didn't know adult nappies excisted! bringmesunshine p.s I'd agree though it's bad when pharmacies (any pharmacy) just carries one brand, it was great months ago because the number one non-chain pharmacy brand of choice - where adult nappies were concerned - were Tena's, but now they've gone cloth-backed they're hidious and I'm avoiding them completely, worse still no non-chain pharmacies are stocking PB alternits...roll on the UK arrival of the Tena Slip Original line!
 

Akastus

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Blimey, the situation seems to have changed then. I was under the impression that americans malls had large adult diaper sections containing many brands, the pharmacies may be a bit one-brand focused but I hope things haven't changed in the malls.

Speaking as a UK resident as well, I can't say that I've ever that impression. My understanding was simply that the US has a greater number of consumer-accessible medical supply stores, not that major retailers stocked such products. "More widely available" is not the same thing as "ubiquitous".
 

Nam Repaid

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American consumers are sheep led by advertisers to buy whatever profits the big corporations the most. I mean really Bud & Corona are the worst beers on the planet but they sell well there.
 

KimbaFoxNatsume

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Blimey, the situation seems to have changed then. I was under the impression that americans malls had large adult diaper sections containing many brands, the pharmacies may be a bit one-brand focused but I hope things haven't changed in the malls. This is me speaking as a UK resident very excited about american shopping, the last time I was in American I was so young I didn't know adult nappies excisted! bringmesunshine p.s I'd agree though it's bad when pharmacies (any pharmacy) just carries one brand, it was great months ago because the number one non-chain pharmacy brand of choice - where adult nappies were concerned - were Tena's, but now they've gone cloth-backed they're hidious and I'm avoiding them completely, worse still no non-chain pharmacies are stocking PB alternits...roll on the UK arrival of the Tena Slip Original line!

Hmm... I'm getting the impression that shopping malls in Britain are different than ones here in the United States! Admittedly, I haven't been in that many different malls, but our indoor ones (as opposed to ''strip'' malls) don't really have any stores that sell adult diapers.
 

Akastus

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Hmm... I'm getting the impression that shopping malls in Britain are different than ones here in the United States! Admittedly, I haven't been in that many different malls, but our indoor ones (as opposed to ''strip'' malls) don't really have any stores that sell adult diapers.

I've been in plenty of malls on both sides of the Atlantic and I can assure you, there's no difference except size and a greater propensity towards multi-storey car parks in the UK (land values being what they are). I think that bringmesunshine may be referring to large retailers like Wal-Mart.
 

KimbaFoxNatsume

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I've been in plenty of malls on both sides of the Atlantic and I can assure you, there's no difference except size and a greater propensity towards multi-storey car parks in the UK (land values being what they are). I think that bringmesunshine may be referring to large retailers like Wal-Mart.

Ah, I was thinking perhaps British malls had a bigger variety of types of stores inside, like pharmacies where one might find diapers.
 

Akastus

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Well, you'll find Boots pharmacies in most British malls, and they stock rebranded Attends, both pull-up and plastic-backed slip, but they can hardly be called premium products. Larger supermarkets may stock adult pull-ups, and I've seen Depends in Costco, but generally retail Britain is as much a wasteland for premium nappies as the US.

As I said, they're a specialist product targeted at a small market. Major retailers only ever focus on the mass market.
 

MetalMann

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I still find it baffling that virtually all major brick and mortar (non-online) retailers in the US sell only Depends and the same generic store brand everywhere. How did Kimberly-Clark get such a monopoly? I've heard a lot of good of theories as to why Depends and store brand diapers suck, but to me the more interesting question is why there's no real competition in stores from better products. If Dry 24/7 can be successful online, why can't it be on shelf next to the Depends? They're both made by American companies. Does the market simply not support it? Are the costs of entry too high? I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for lack of decent diapers in stores.

How did anyone get premium diapers before the Internet? :dunno:
The answer is very simple actually. Retailers like Walmart, Target, and ect actually charge these companies to put their products on the shelf. Kimberly Clark and Tena buys shelf space. These premium diaper companies do not have the checkbooks to outbid these companies.

It's not that Premium companies don't want to get in to stores, but the cost of doing it wouldn't pay the dividends. Nor are the products small enough. Adult diapers take up a lot of space, the bigger the higher the cost. Not only that but logistics would be a pain as well. Kimberly Clark has much more than diapers, they have lots of paper products as well. Instead of a store ordering a 53 ft trailer of adult diapers, they can order baby diapers, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, feminine products and whatever else they have in their arsenal. Therefore you can fill a 53ft trailer to fill your inventory.

Premium diapers will never leave the confines of the internet. It doesn't make financial sense for them or for you. If they were to buy shelf space, the price would jump up significantly.

Logistics is expensive. The cost of shipping from them to you is cheaper than shipping from them, to regional warehouse, to local warehouse, to local stores, to you.
 

Tetra

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Most stores sell premium diapers mail order at still major markups

I never had a problem buying diapers there was no embarrassment factor for me.and as I have said before people come out of the woodwork anytime I sm near the diaper isle " to try and help me find my size and brand"

People have no problem "trying to help people in wheelchairs" find what they need. It almost seems like they expect people in chairs to be " broken". I have even had people tell me by the case is cheaper and offer to take me to the register and then deliver my purchase to be "helpful l"

It is pretty amazing how the public accepts diapers for. People InWheelchairs.

Tetra
 

SnowPrincessSophie

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Last I heard, It's partly a demographic issue. There are not enough people with a need for that kind of heavy protection to justify giving much shelf space to such products. 10-20 years ago, there was an increasing need for such products because the population of aging Greatest and Silent Generationers was growing and with it, the demand for products that were effective for managing heavy incontinence. I still don't think premium brands could be found in stores back then but brands that could be considered pretty close to premium were found in stores. I.E. Attends, Tranquility etc. Some even carried a few generic medical brands and their own house brand, and Depends has always had a presence. Around the mid 2000s the aging population of the era started to die off and with it, the demand for such products that offered heavy and extensive protection. Now? The Baby Boomers are the aging population of the time, however, they are not quite there yet. most Baby Boomers, especially the oldest ones are fine and don't have any incontinence issues and those who do have very very minor leakage issues and don't need the extensive protection of traditional tape on diapers (yet). So since around the mid 2000s, stores have been giving up shelf space in favor pull-up type products as that's where the demand is now. chain Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreen's only carry their house brand and Depend's diapers are nowhere to be found. Depend pads and pull-ups are there, but the only "fitted briefs" as many call them are the store's house brand. Rite Aid carries Depends diapers and their own house brand but products for lighter protection are the stars of the show so to speak. Walmart carries Depends but only in small/medium as well as their house brand, Assurance in all available sizes. Kmart carries Depends. Grocery stores and other retailers like Target such products are nowhere to be found. All the shelf space in those stores is fully dedicated to pull-up type diapers and other products meant for lighter protection.

However, there is one thing working in our favor, people are living longer. The more time goes by, the longer people continue to live. As the oldest of the Baby Boomers begin to age into their 80s and 90s, the demand for heavier protection should increase across the board. This could lead to a population shift where there are just as many old people as there are young people or even where the elderly become the majority. Such a shift has already happened in East Asian countries like Japan and China as in stores, especially in Japan there are products for all forms of protection all the place sometimes with the actual products on display. So it is my prediction that such a shift will happen in the West when the time comes. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. In the coming 1-2 decades as the oldest of the Baby Boomers age into their 80s and 90s the need and demand for tape on diapers could skyrocket once again, just like it did in the 90s-early 2000s. Most premium diapers will still probably be exclusive to e-commerce, but brands like Attends and possibly Tranquility could be seen in chain pharmacies and retail stores once again and possibly a few generic medical brands. More medical supply stores may carry premium diapers like Molicare and Abena. And stores could drastically improve their own house brands to compete for shelf space. imagine what the 2030 edition of Certainty, CVS, Rite Aid, or Assurance diapers will be like.

In short, It's only a matter of time, we're not quite there yet, but we will be in the coming decades.
 

edward321

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I still find it baffling that virtually all major brick and mortar (non-online) retailers in the US sell only Depends and the same generic store brand everywhere. How did Kimberly-Clark get such a monopoly? I've heard a lot of good of theories as to why Depends and store brand diapers suck, but to me the more interesting question is why there's no real competition in stores from better products. If Dry 24/7 can be successful online, why can't it be on shelf next to the Depends? They're both made by American companies. Does the market simply not support it? Are the costs of entry too high? I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for lack of decent diapers in stores.

How did anyone get premium diapers before the Internet? :dunno:



Depends got its name out there, in my opinion, by being really good for while.
I remember late 90s early 2000 they were just as good as Bambino this last for 5-6year that I used them. Then all of a sudden the quality just completely dropped, their waist bands went from excellent to generic, the leg gathers samething good to garbage.

And now that they put a good name out for themselves they made cut backs and with contracts I'm guessing stores agreed to sell their products for x amount of years.
Pretty much shady manipulative business to make money I think
 
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