I just came back from my annual physical. In the area where they take blood and do other testing, there were many boxes of Kimberly Clark latex gloves used by the techs. For the short time I was there they used quite a few pairs, thereby doing a nice job of ringing the KMB cash register.
22 years in laboratory testing and KMB products were everywhere. We used Kimwipes to clean up spills and oil from microscope slide; paper drapes in the autopsy room, absorbant diaper-like pads on counter tops for spills, masks in bacteriology, paper gowns and that was before gloves were required for virtually every task. Now expand that view to encompass anything that involves direct or indirect patient contact in all the hospitals and clinics and you've got a big market.
I bought this stock because it fit in with my consumer non-durable holdings - Food, personal care and medical supplies. When I researched the company I noticed the medical products segment. KMB gives me the paper products and then the medical supports my Abbot Labs holdings. I also own Colgate. Gives me three great dividend payers in this area. Also, although talking heads on TV talk about these kinds of stocks as defensive, in a full blown secular bear market they explode to the up side. If you look at them from 1982 t0 2000 the gains were amazing. We owned Colgate during that whole period. Now since then most of these stocks have done OK. It was low commodity prices during that 18 year period that made everything go up. We may be entering that period again. Commodity prices that are inputs to paper have been coming down.