For the vast majority of menstruating women in rich countries, tampons and other feminine-hygiene products are both affordable and, on the whole, adequate. But some still end up soaking up their blood with poor substitutes such as newspapers, toilet roll or rags, all of which methods may lead to infection. This aspect of destitution, known as period poverty, has been the subject of a wave of activism in recent years. Almost half of the 28 EU member states continue to apply the standard VAT rate to sanitary towels and tampons, in a bracket applied to items such as jewellery, wine, beer and cigarettes. In 10 of these countries, this rate is over 20%: Hungary, at 27%, Croatia, Switzerland and Denmark, at 25%. Since 2007, when the European Union allowed countries to amend the so-called Tampon Tax down to a specified minimum, many countries have opted to do so; others, however, have kept these feminine hygiene products in the same VAT bracket as other products that are not basic necessities. With an in depth analytical the report ‘Europe Feminine Hygiene Market Outlook, 2027’ by Bonafide Research studies the market which grew with a historic CAGR of 4.5%.
Historically, in Europe some 42 Billion sanitary napkins, tampons and panty liners were sold in 2004 compared to more than 35 Billion products in 1997, according to obtained data. The European Feminine hygiene market is led by the sanitary hygiene products in Europe. In 2021, the most popular brand for feminine care products in the region such as tampons, sanitary pads and panty liners was O.B, with nearly a quarter of the population using. Menstrual products have long been taxed at a higher rate in Germany than many other everyday necessities. Germany has long implemented a 19% tax on menstrual products thus nearly an additional one-fifth of the price for tampons, pads, and menstrual cups.
Even with all the technological advancement, menstruation is a taboo talk in Germany. Efforts to reduce the menstrual taboo and at the same time outsmart the sales tax have included selling menstruation colouring books or a book with tampons hidden in it. It was in November 2019 the German Parliament agreed that from January 2020 the tax on sanitary products – the so-called Tampon Tax – would be decreased from 19% to 7%. This is to have a huge impact in the market for the future. In European Union the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to women’s sanitary products coming into effect from Jan 2021. This was part of wider government action to End Period Poverty in the region which includes the roll out of free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals.
Apart from the tax, the major issue is the consideration of menstruation as a topic not meant for public discussion. Lack of formal education on this subject shows that the topic is not seen as important among the medical community, as well as society at large. Moreover, the doctors do not initiate the discussion on this topic during their patients’ visits even though they are able to provide them with crucial information. While the region was already in its period dilemma, that the world faced Covid 19. Many public places, school campuses, recreation centres, libraries, that supply free tampons and pads in bathrooms are closed. As with toilet paper and medicine, those who could afford to hoard maxi-pads and tampons did just that, leaving women with lower incomes without basic essentials.