The bath and body segment has benefited from near universal usage as consumers use these products in their daily personal hygiene routine. While the market was not impacted significantly by the economic downturn — as consumers still needed to bathe — the way in which consumers shop the market has shifted.
(For the full category review, including data, click here.)
“The recession and subsequent recovery years have had an impact on how consumers are shopping for soap, bath and shower products. Consumers are cost-conscious and careful in scrutinizing their spending, particularly for daily use personal care products that require frequent purchase,” Mintel stated in its 2013 report on “Soap, Bath and Shower Products” in the United States.
Price has taken the lead as the most important factor when purchasing, leading consumers to trade down to less expensive brands, product formats and lower-priced label options. Coming in as the second key purchase driver, according to Mintel, is scent type, and third is familiar brand.
To attract consumers back to branded, more expensive offerings, manufacturers are increasingly integrating additional benefits, such as anti-aging ingredients, and leveraging current trends playing out in other categories like food. Manufacturers also are positioning their brands as “affordable luxuries” in hopes that consumers will see the purchase as a cost-effective treat. For example, Dr. Teal’s is bringing the benefits of magnesium sulfate and aromatherapy to the shower with its recent launch of Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash, available in Soothe & Sleep with Lavender and Relax & Relief with Eucalyptus Spearmint.
While consumers undoubtedly want bath products that moisturize for softer skin and deodorize to help battle body odor, it is interesting to note that anti-aging attributes command the greatest consumer interest.
“When asked what product attributes they would be interested in seeing in their soap, bath and shower products in the future, product purchasers most commonly reported that they were interested in seeing anti-aging attributes,” Mintel stated.
The bottom line: Consumers have come to expect more from their bath products.