How embossing impacts toilet tissue aesthetics and consumer buying behavior

The origins of toilet tissue embossing are rooted in practically. The three-dimensional patterns increase surface area and liquid absorbency of the tissue, and also keep multiple plies from peeling apart.

Absorbency and bonding remain key benefits of embossed toilet tissue. However, embossing also plays an important role in meeting the demands of buyers who are increasingly selective about their toilet tissue choices.

How embossing influences consumer purchasing decisions

The global toilet paper market is projected to grow to nearly $76 billion (USD) by 2030 — a statistic that reflects the ubiquity of toilet tissue products throughout the world.2 In the United States alone, it’s estimated that the average person uses in excess of 100 single rolls of toilet paper (roughly 21,000 sheets) each year.

The reliance on toilet tissue products is clear. However, need and reliance doesn’t translate to commoditization. Rather, buyers are becoming more selective about the toilet tissue they purchase. The reasons behind this are thought to stem from heightened sensitivities around hygiene brought about by COVID-19.1 Subsequently, a certain brand loyalty developed that carried beyond the easing of pandemic concerns.1

Upward trends in disposable incomes also tend to have consumers more willing to purchase — and pay more for — premium embossed toilet tissue products for the aesthetic features and benefits1, including:

  • Higher quality: Consumers attach higher quality to embossed tissue than non-embossed or lower-ply options, largely due to the perception of added softness, absorbency, and strength
  • Enhanced texture and softness: Depending on the pattern design and frequency, embossed toilet tissue is generally softer to the touch
  • Increased bulk: Sheet thickness is increased, thereby making roll size more substantial and appealing to consumers
  • Visual appeal: Designs — especially 3D patterns — are simply more eye catching and visually satisfying which elevates embossed tissue to an artisanal experience. Similarly, embossing can help camouflage sheet inconsistencies such as dirt or poorly formed sheets to unify products’ visual presentation
  • Product differentiation: Unique embossing designs and patterns can serve as visual cues to consumers, helping them quickly identify and choose their preferred brand at the shelf

Tissue manufacturers are well aware of the aesthetic connections consumers make with embossed tissue. It is common for brands to use embossing as opportunities to reinforce their unique embossed patterns, logos, or other distinguishing features to drive consistent consumer loyalty and purchases.1

Production considerations for successful embossing

Embossed toilet tissue is an excellent fit for aesthetic appeal and other consumer preferences, but product quality must not be overlooked. The embossing process can affect certain tissue attributes, principally:

Mechanical strength: As sheets pass between rolls and through nips, mechanical deformation occurs. Too much embossing or using the wrong embossing pattern can exacerbate the deformation, damaging the fiber bonds and decreasing tissue web strength. Therefore, it’s imperative to accurately choose pattern design, technology, and pattern parameters to maximize the benefits of embossing without causing excessive strength degradation

Stiffness: Depending on the pattern design, embossing typically reduces web stiffness and increases sheet softness

Toilet tissue lamination: The correct combination of embossing pattern design and process can facilitate lamination, thereby enabling production of multi-ply finished products that customers view as being of high quality

Partnering with embossing experts can help you qualitatively and aesthetically distinguish your toilet tissue products. Contact the Valmet team to discuss how we can help you put your stamp on the marketplace — and the minds of consumers.



1Allied Market Research, Embossed Toilet Tissue Market Type … Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast 2022-2029, November, 2022

2PR Newswire, Global Toilet Paper Market Report (2022 to 2030), June 1, 2022, Toilet Paper, Undated