Most Popular in:

Bath & Body

Email This Item! Print This Item!

What’s Next for Bath and Body Care?

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 2 of 3

The cultural acceptance of female body hair is crucial to the success of depilatories in any given region/market, and plays a key role in determining the size of the sector. In the U.K. and the U.S., obvious body hair on women is generally considered unacceptable, particularly underarm hair. This attitude ensures far higher sales in these markets than in other countries where female body hair is more commonly tolerated. As a result, the strong growth in personal wealth in emerging regions such as Brazil, Russia, India and China has not necessarily translated into a big rise in sales of depilatories. Despite China’s disposable income levels roughly doubling 2004–2009, annual per capita female spend on depilatories in the country was still well below $1 in 2009.

Bath/Shower Rescued by Strong Liquid Soap Sales

Plagued by private label launches, consumer trade down and buy-one-get-one-free offers toward the end of 2008, swine flu could not have come at a more convenient time for bath and shower brands, producing a growth spike in liquid soap sales globally. Growth rose from 7% in 2008 to 13% in 2009, driven by consumer demand for liquid soap and hand sanitizer products with anti-germ and antibacterial properties. Brands leapt at the chance to drive sales in the notoriously mature category through new product developments, and there was a strong focus on producing handbag-sized hand sanitizers, often sold at the point of sale in stores. While other categories, such as bath additives, posted a decline of 2% in 2009, the boom in liquid soap sales was enough to maintain overall value growth in bath and shower of 6% in 2009, unchanged from 2008. It remains to be seen whether the strong growth in hand sanitizers will continue now that swine flu is not the looming threat it was feared to be. What is clear, however, is that swine flu provided bath and shower manufacturers with some much-needed respite in a year that would otherwise have been much worse for the industry.

Men Emerge as Key Consumers Globally for Bath and Body

Male-specific bath and body care products continue to be a sustainable trend, with global growth in the men’s skin care and men’s deodorant categories reaching 8% in 2009. Despite this, both segments remain small compared to overall global skin care and deodorant value sales. The male body wash segment has also seen plenty of recent new product development. With the category presenting substantial growth opportunities and proving to be relatively resilient to trading down, a number of companies have made men’s grooming a top priority. Beiersdorf introduced what it calls the first body wash, shampoo and shaving cream combination in July 2009 under the Nivea brand, while Unilever has recently extended its male Dove range with Dove Men and Care in the U.S., Italy and the U.K.

Deodorant Sales Buoyed by Latin America

Deodorants and baby care were the best performers globally in 2009, each growing by 7%, albeit from a low base. Latin Americans’ love of scents underpinned strong growth in deodorant roll-ons and sprays as consumers used less-expensive body sprays as substitutes for fragrances. Unwillingness from parents to sacrifice quality in their children’s products, together with increased purchases of baby lotion for adult consumption, boosted demand for baby care products, including natural/organically-positioned goods.

Sales of Firming/Anti-cellulite Products Take Hit

According to Euromonitor research, while sales growth of global skin care slowed to 3% in 2009, down from 5% in 2008, sales of firming/anti-cellulite products were particularly hard hit during the recession—with global value growth plummeting to 1% in 2009, down from 6% in 2008. Reduced consumer spending was certainly not the only reason for the drop in sales. Despite reduced budgets during the recession, global growth in antiagers remained buoyant at 7% in 2009, only two percentage points lower than the previous year. A major factor behind the decline in sales of anti-cellulite products was a lack of notable success stories in key Western markets, resulting in a lack of credibility among consumers. Antiagers, on the other hand, have benefited as a whole from the publicity surrounding the success of certain products—notably Boots’ Protect & Perfect and Aldi’s Co Enzyme Q10 cream, both of which have been found in scientific tests to work (albeit with a small, temporary effect).