The business of toilet paper
Toilet paper is big business, and for a product that fulfils a pretty simple function, the amount of technology and marketing effort that goes into the industry is surprisingly complex. With an annual turnover of $720 million and fierce competition between brands, it seems everybody has an opinion on what makes a perfect roll.
Nowadays we can choose from a huge variety of toilet paper — quilted, embossed, double-length, recycled, scented or unscented, plain or printed. There are rolls that cater to our environmental or comfort preferences and some even manage to satisfy our aesthetic whims.
To distinguish their products from each others’, manufacturers use buzzwords like ‘softness’ and ‘comfort’ in ads that feature puppies, cherubic babies and anything else that evokes the image of softness without getting into the delicate business of what they’re selling.
Toilet paper on trial
- The brand that stood out in the user trial was QUILTON, which makes four out of five of the top-rated toilet rolls. In fact 41% of the Home Testers said QUILTON is the brand they usually purchase.
- The second most commonly bought brand by trialists (34%), KLEENEX, came equal seventh and eighth with three of its Cottonelle options. In among the QUILTON products as a top performer was Aldi’s CONFIDENCE three-ply toilet roll, which came equal third overall and rated above average for factors such as thickness, absorbency, strength and ease of tearing the toilet paper off the roll.
- The majority of trialists preferred products that are more than two sheets thick, with most of the two-ply products in the trial scoring significantly below average.
- And although trialists didn’t know which brand they were testing or how much it cost, they mostly gave a higher overall score to the more expensive products.
Over or under?
One of the age-old toilet paper-related dilemmas is whether you should hang your toilet rolls with sheets rolling out over the top or underneath.
One theory is that hanging the toilet roll with the sheets coming over the top wastes less paper. This is because when the sheets are coming from under the roll, ripping the paper with one hand or an overzealous pull on the roll can leave half the roll on the floor.