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While the cleaning industry as a whole learns more about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to maneuver around them, many issues still remain — including supply chain struggles, employee shortages and the inevitable price rises and inflation that resulted from it. Although businesses are gradually re-opening around the country and service industries are expanding again (which should alleviate some of these strains), Cascades Tissue Group senior market analyst Audrey Salle believes many of these challenges will continue into the first few months of 2022 and continue to permeate throughout the next year. When it comes to the tissue industry and how these circumstances will have an impact, three major trends were outlined by Cascades that end users, distributors and manufacturers alike should anticipate for the year ahead: 

1. Elevated Hygiene Emphasis: While this is nothing new since the onset of the pandemic, people on-average still maintain an elevated sense of hygiene nearly two years after the initial wave of shutdowns. A poll conducted last October by Cascades around that over 75 percent of consumers still wash their hands more frequently compared to before COVID-19. The elevated scrutiny on hygiene also impacts purchasing decisions, notably when it comes to hand drying products. The biggest shift since the pandemic is the preference toward paper towels and away from hand dryers. In the same study, 73 percent of respondents preferred paper towels to hand dryers while also showing a rising interest in no-touch technology on restroom equipment. 

2. Shifting B2B Transactions: Much like zoom calls and virtual interactions skyrocketed out of necessity, so did transaction methods over the past 22 months. When it comes to the B2B tissue market, 40 percent of all sales came via e-commerce from December 2020-2021. Additionally, B2B buyers preferred paying via websites (80 percent), email (77 percent) and phone (72 percent) according to a study from Virtual Analytics. These trends will require manufacturers and distributors to alter the way they present products and make sure they are accessible and purchase-friendly in a virtual method. 

3. Green-Friendly Products And Certifications: The makeup of products has come under more scrutiny with each passing year, and many consumers have recently expressed a preference for recycled fibers and corrugated packaging in lieu of plastic. Additionally, consumers are placing a premium on products that can achieve green certifications, which allows a safer environment for for cleaning staffs and building occupants alike. It helps facilities reinforce an emphasis on both the environment and health. 

For more industry trends defining the cleaning industry, check out our Sanitary Maintenance 2021 End User Purchasing and Service Survey