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Bite’s Back in Oral Care

By: Colin Decker, Euromonitor International
Posted: January 31, 2012, from the January 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

The global oral care market experienced stable growth from 2005 to 2010, with a value compound annual growth rate of 4.6%, using current/nominal prices and fixed exchange rates, according to Euromonitor International. Up until 2010, the category had survived the global economic downturn, and as the global economy slowly recovers, growth of the oral care category is expected to increase in 2011 to 5.2% and remain close to that over the forecast period through 2015. This growth will be driven by product innovations, value-added products and the strong growth of markets in developing countries—as well as the fact that oral care, by nature, is one of the most essential beauty and personal care categories.

Looking for Innovations or to Trade Up In the global oral care market, regions with developed and saturated markets (i.e. the U.S., Japan, Germany and the U.K.) are expected to show little growth, and those with unsaturated markets and growing populations (such as China, Brazil and India) have clear growth potential. Growth opportunities in these two general types of markets will be realized in different ways: In the developed markets, consumers look for innovations, while developing market consumers trade up to better products.

Brand owners are focusing on ways to stand out against the competition by providing newer and better products with new product formulations, “innovations” and marketing campaigns. In developing markets, brand owners focus their efforts on educating consumers on the benefits of traditional oral health and the products to support that. As a result, places such as India are seeing dramatic growth in the penetration of oral care as more consumers trade up from toothpowder to toothpaste and expand their oral care regimens to include mouthwashes/dental rinses.

Pushing Multi-product Regimens

As brand owners look for ways to attract new customers and keep existing ones, the leading players have developed oral care regimens that provide complete oral health care. In the U.S., the largest market by far, the most heralded new product of 2010 was undoubtedly Procter & Gamble’s Crest 3D White line. The full oral care regimen consists of an Oral-B pulsing toothbrush, a paste-gel hybrid toothpaste, an alcohol-free whitening mouth rinse and whitening strips. By leveraging multiple benefit claims, the 3D White system seeks to capitalize on the trend in oral care marketing of converting consumers from single product users to using a multi-product regimen.