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Device-specific, lasting products charge category

BY Barbara White-Sax

A proliferation of high-drain electronics and healthcare devices are keeping consumers in need of more battery power. Recent category introductions have focused on providing consumers with such longer-lasting options as Duracell’s new Quantum alkaline battery and Energizer’s improved Ultimate Lithium batteries.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Rechargeables, while still a small segment of the category, also are seeing significant growth. Energizer recently improved its Energy Recharge Value Charger, which now features an LED status indicator that turns green when the charge is complete and flashes red when a disposable or bad battery is detected. Duracell has also developed a faster charger and a better rechargeable. "It offers a better experience for the consumer, and the better battery life allows them to use rechargeables more efficiently," said Jeff Jarrett, marketing director at Duracell.

But an ever-expanding variety of choices can create confusion in the battery aisle as consumers try to make a selection. Manufacturers are concentrating on helping to make those choices easier at the point of purchase.

"As important as offering choice to consumers is, the need to simplify the point-of-purchase decision by providing clear communication to help shoppers understand which power options best complement their devices," said Lou Martire, VP of trade development for Energizer.

Martire said that the Energizer Shopper Based Solutions initiative helps shoppers make the right battery choices at the shelf, whether they need alkaline batteries for remote controls and flashlights, lithium batteries for GPS systems and digital cameras or, as the category evolves, power options for their mobile devices. "The Shopper Based Solutions initiative provides a recommended product mix, in-store location, shelf organization and category messaging. Most importantly, we have found that retailers adopting the Shopper Based Solution strategy enjoy above-average category sales growth. Energizer has a dedicated shopper marketing team ready to help retailers implement these initiatives in their stores," he said.

"Educating consumers about which batteries offer the best performance for their specific devices often leads to purchasing multiple packs," Martire said.

In an effort to make finding the right coin battery easier, Duracell has developed a Coin Button Finder mobile website. "Consumers put their coin battery number from their device into the mobile site, and the site will tell them the battery they need," Duracell’s Jarrett said.

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Pet parents splurge on health-oriented products

BY Barbara White-Sax

Consumers are spending when it comes to pet care and grooming. "Overall, the humanization of pets is driving both the grooming and dental categories," said Brian Collier, a spokesman for Naturel Promise. "Pet parents are, more than ever, concerned about the well-being, comfort and health of their pets."

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

There has been growth in pet grooming products, as people view grooming as a way to spend quality time caring for their pets. Pet Head, from Bed Head creator Kyara Mascolo, now has Dog Nail Polish in four colors. The fast-dry, one-coat polish can be used on humans and dogs, according to the company.

Products made with natural and organic ingredients also have become more popular with consumers. A recent study from Packaged Facts revealed that 38% of pet owners believe that natural/organic brand pet products are often better than standard national brands, and 63% are very concerned about the safety of the pet products they buy.

Naturel Promise brand is just one line that offers a selection of grooming products for pets that includes natural ingredients and promotes such benefits as a fresh breath, a healthier coat and less shedding. The brand also markets a spa line for pets.

Pet owners also are more focused on providing their pets with good health care. The American Animal Hospital Association says that poor dental health can lead to more serious pet health problems, such as heart, lung and kidney disease, and that regular teeth brushing at home, coupled with regular dental checkups, can help pets live longer, healthier lives.

Sales of toothpastes and gels, tooth sprays and brushes are on the rise. Triple Pet’s line of pet dental care products covers the spectrum of needs for both dogs and cats, including an EZ Dog unique triple-headed toothbrush design, as well as White-On Disposable Teeth Cleaners, plaque remover and toothpastes.

Collier said many consumers still fail to provide proper dental care for their pets because they assume proper brushing will be a challenge. "Our goal is to continue educating consumers about the importance of dental health, while also connecting them with products that make taking care of their pets’ teeth easy and affordable," he said.

The increased popularity of pet Halloween costumes is another example of how pet parents see their furry friends as family members. The National Retail Federation estimates that 15% of pet owners dress their pets for Halloween. Last year, the NRF said, pet costume sales increased 20% over 2011 dollar sales.

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Wahl Clipper introduces all-natural pet cleaning products

BY Barbara White-Sax

STERLING, Ill. — Wahl Clipper has introduced a new line of all-natural pet cleaning products, including dog deodorant and easy-rinse shampoos. The deodorant is designed to be sprayed on dogs — with a strong but not overwhelming scent — and then to dissipate, taking the dog’s odor with it. The new shampoo was designed with humans in mind; Wahl’s director of North America consumer sales Audie Rudiger told DSN, “the first thing people do when buying shampoo for themselves is to smell it.”

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