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Smile—Oral Care Market Set to Grow

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International.
Posted: January 20, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The products have a long tradition, and are accepted as the norm in many developed markets. For example, 39% of all toothpaste sold in Canada in 2009 had whitening properties. The whitening category in a number of developed markets, however, is considered to be nearing saturation. In response, brand owners are increasingly focusing on combining the whitening effect with other popular toothpaste properties, such as care for sensitive teeth, one example being Sensodyne’s Gentle Whitening variant.

BRIC Fuelling Global Value Growth

Brazil, Russia, India and China are significant contributors to global oral care growth, with the four countries showing a combined $589 million value increase 2008–2009. Developing countries, including the BRICs, have played a major role in sustaining the growth of basic oral care. Increasing frequency of toothpaste and toothbrush usage has driven this growth. Stronger hygiene awareness has encouraged more frequent brushing of teeth, the usage of more toothpaste when brushing and raised the frequency of toothbrush replacement. In addition, growing middle-class consumer bases in all four countries have further driven demand for secondary oral care products.

Germany and Spain: The Most Dynamic Mature Markets

While developing countries feature strongly among the fastest-growing markets, major developed countries Germany and Spain are still among the fastest-growing in oral care. The high population of these countries is the main driver, despite low growth in percentage terms.

India and Venezuela: The Top Hot Spots for Future Growth

Rural consumers in India (roughly 70% of the country’s population) are set to drive growth, thanks to rising awareness of the importance of oral hygiene and improving income levels. Consumers have been switching from traditional, homemade solutions such as datun and neem leaves to using toothbrushes and toothpaste. Meanwhile, urban consumers are changing their toothbrushes more regularly than before, in line with dentists’ recommendations of every three months, due to rising oral hygiene awareness. Venezuela currently has very low per capita usage of toothbrushes—on average just one in two consumers purchased a toothbrush in 2009—and toothpaste, but there are very high growth rates in both categories (38% value growth for toothbrushes and 40% for toothpaste in 2009). Growth has been driven by a rise in disposable income among low-income consumers, meaning that more people are able to afford to buy and replace basic oral care products more frequently.

Trading Up; Increasing Frequency of Use Key

Persuading consumers globally to trade up from basic products, such as from manual toothbrushes to power toothbrushes or standard toothpaste to whitening toothpaste, will be a key driver of future growth—along with increasing frequency of usage and, in turn, purchase. The push to ensure consumers brush their teeth twice a day will also be instrumental in driving volume sales. New product development is likely to focus on offering consumers better efficacy in removing plaque, with more launches such as Aquafresh’s foaming toothpaste, introduced in 2010 and aimed at preventing consumer trade down to less-expensive private label products in mature markets.

Outlook: Recovery Ahead for Both Basic and Secondary Products