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While bath and shower products posted global sales of $23.6 billion in 2006, with particularly strong sales of products that mimic spa treatments or are marketed as providing luxurious and stress-free moments, bar soaps have seen a downturn in popularity. In the U.S., bar soaps have seen little growth in an overall segment that itself shows little growth, according to Euromonitor International, which forecasts bar soaps to see a 4.5% decline through 2011. The global picture mirrors this trend. In various regions, liquid soaps and body washes consistently outperform bar soaps.
With this downturn, optimism may be difficult to come by, yet some innovative delivery systems and trends are adding value to bar soaps that could infuse the category with new life.
Trends in organics and natural products have carried over into the bar soap category. Consumers are seeking soaps that combine natural and organic ingredients with efficacy, and manufacturers are answering the demand.
“More soap producers are gearing up for the organic market by having their facilities certified as organic manufacturing sites and buying organic raw materials,” said Sue Jonas, vice president of product development, Crabtree & Evelyn.