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It seems the oral care industry has been reduced to little more than a tooth-and-nail fight for market share. Growth is in line with the broader cosmetics and toiletries market, and Euromonitor calls the category “a solid and dependable sales engine,” but all is not what it once was in the toothpaste aisle. Oral care is a mature, commodity market that is “proving difficult to add meaningful value to,” according to Euromonitor.
Remember the days before plaque fighting claims—a time when toothpaste only came in a tube? The oral care market was as wide open as a mouth prepped for root canal. These days, changes in the category are more often evolutionary than revolutionary. Exploiting trends offers some new points of differentiation—however briefly. Following the lead from skin care, oral care has gone “clinical” and “natural,” but what’s the next niche? Teeth whitening advances offer opportunities for brand expansion in the segment, and these opportunities have moved, in turn, to spas and salons that now offer chairside whitening services, as Leslie Benson tells us in “Up From the Dentist’s Chair.”
Oral care brands that tire of duking it out for ever thinner profits will have to get creative to pull ahead. When investing in innovation becomes cost prohibitive, what’s a marketer to do? Some good ideas may be found beyond the oral care aisle completely.
Changes at The Council
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As this issue goes to press, Mark Pollak, The Personal Care Products Council’s executive vice president of strategic initiatives, is serving as interim president and CEO until Bailey’s replacement is named.