Scent, moisturizing qualities drive consumers to buy certain soap products

CHICAGO — When shopping for soap, bath and shower products, scent and moisturizing capabilities are cited most often as influencing purchase decisions, according to a recent Mintel survey.

According to the survey, 38% of respondents who have purchased soap said their decision is based mainly on scent, while 35% said they prefer shower products with extra moisturizers.

"Although many top brands have answered demand for these qualities, there are substantial opportunities for private-label brands to enter this arena during the slow economic recovery," stated Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. "The U.S. soap consumer is looking for bargains now more than ever as household budgets remain tight; therefore, private-label brands need to have a lower price point and deliver lather, fragrance and significant moisturizing ingredients."

Meanwhile, significantly more than half of Mintel's respondents (60%) claimed that finding soap or body wash products on sale or the cheapest is important/very important to them, and 18% of soap-buying consumers said they look for the least expensive brand of soap or body wash.

While this segment is often targeted toward women, men are starting to make a substantial impact in the market. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 years reported the highest usage of body wash at 58%, compared with 50% of those ages 35 to 54 years and 42% of those who are ages 55 years and older.

"Men represent a key demographic for sales of body wash products, and marketers of these products should attempt to gain the attention of men to boost their sales," Fay added. "Having said that, a whopping 74% of women buy liquid body soap or wash compared to 50% of men — so women are still the key purchasers."

Scrubbers and massagers grew nearly 10% in 2010, and Mintel expects this segment to continue growing by 63% between 2010 and 2015.

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