How do we really know we’re emerging from this recession? Is toilet paper a leading economic indicator? Here’s the bottom line.
This latest sign has rolled out from a most unlikely source: demand for two-ply and "luxurious" toilet paper!
Although Charmin and Scott combined to sell almost a billion dollars- worth of bathroom tissue in a recent year, sales started ‘tanking’ recently as consumers cut discretionary items from their budget, according to RISI, a global forest products industry researcher. http://risi.com
The good news is that bathroom tissue production is up 13% this year. The down side of this trend is that more bathroom tissue production might mean more clogging down the road. It isn’t that we’re more ‘full of it’ than before, but usage might have been a lot higher if the survey included Washington D.C.
Unless you live in the Ozarks and never had a heated indoor john, the 2, 3 or 4 ply becomes a luxury item when you’ve got a little more discretion in your spending. Who wants to go into a strange bathroom and discover the TP has the consistency of a cheap serge suit?
Granted, you don’t brag about your choice of TP. You can’t tell your neighbors that you’re using 2 ply unless it’s in the context of finishing off your ‘man cave’ with paneling.
"Luxury" bathroom tissue may be quilted or rippled (embossed), perfumed, colored or patterned, chemically treated and aloe infused. You may even special order some with your bosses name on it.
How does one upgrade their TP? You can upgrade to 2 ply. Then you go to plush, quilted or scented. If you really want to have that secure feeling knowing you’re utilizing the best, trade up to Georgia-Pacific's new Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue which recently earned the honor of "pacesetter" status from marketing research firm Symphony IRI Group after generating $125 million in sales in its first year.
Next year they may pull out all the stops with one that’s called, ‘Ultra mega super plusher than a baby tush plush infused with pomegranate green tea essence and a free radical acai wrinkle eraser!’
Who makes the best? When you Google ‘bathroom tissue’ you come up with a site that rated them. Charmin bathroom tissue plus a touch of lotion with aloe had the best ratings. The best, that is, until one day in 2009 the ratings went from the top to the bottom. From 5 stars to nada! From aaaaah to ow! Procter &Gamble had apparently downgraded their quality and people started to squawk! They were lodging complaints as if their 5 star hotel had suddenly turned into a flop house. We can’t have this! We need comfort where it’s needed most! We don’t need the sandpaper scraper caper!
So are we emerging from the recession? The BTI or bathroom tissue index will tell but please don’t squeeze the consumer.