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Hearing aid batteries continue to outperform

BY Barbara White-Sax

Hearing aid and coin batteries are outperforming other battery segments. Fueled by an aging population that is more willing than ever before to wear hearing aids, the hearing aid battery segment has continued to grow over the last several years.

"Improved technology and the changing needs of the aging population are leading more people with hearing loss to do something about it," said Ramon Velutini, brand manager for Duracell NA. "Ten years ago, 1-in-5 people with hearing loss used a hearing aid. Now that percentage has grown to 1-in-4."

Continuous innovation also is boosting the category. "The more sophisticated devices become, the more power they need," said Ann Rule, director of marketing for Spectrum Brands, manufacturer of Rayovac batteries, which holds the global leader position in hearing aid battery sales, according to the company. "Our new batteries are developed in lockstep with manufacturer innovations in devices. Since performance is crucial in this segment, we are continually improving performance," she added. Rayovac will introduce a new generation of hearing aid battery this fall.

Unlike alkaline batteries, a segment in which a significant percentage of sales are impulse driven, the hearing aid and coin segments are a destination category. "Hearing aid batteries are a planned purchase, so retailers have to be sure to have a good assortment of the four types of batteries used in hearing aids, and retailers need to have the products displayed where consumers are shopping," Velutini said.

Retailers should display the products near the pharmacy and at the front of the store. "Retailers want to capture this aging consumer. The strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but the product has to be easy to find," Rule said.

Spinner racks in the battery department can help extend limited shelf space. Better point-of-purchase signage also could help steer consumers to the appropriate battery choice. "We have to make sure we are serving all hearing aid consumers, from people with older devices to new models," Rule said. "We talk on-shelf about improved performance, but we don’t want to confuse shoppers with packaging changes that aren’t necessary."

Packaging innovations play a big part in the category, since packaging needs to be child-resistant to prevent children from ingesting the tiny batteries, yet easy enough for seniors to open without difficulty.

Energizer recently introduced Energizer EZ Turn & Lock Hearing Aid Batteries, which are long-lasting, recyclable batteries packaged in a dial dispenser that is easy to turn but locks batteries in place for storage before use. Duracell’s EasyTab also addresses the issue.

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Battery Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Diet drinks fuel growth amid flat sales

BY DSN STAFF

After a strong performance for several years, sales of sports drinks are showing some fatigue. The category, which had registered double-digit growth for the last several years, saw sales flatten in 2012. The good news is that Mintel projects the market for sports drinks to grow by 52% from 2013 to 2017.

Diet sports drinks will continue to fuel category growth. The diet segment stole nearly 6 points of market share from regular sports drinks from 2010 to 2012 alone, according to Mintel. Regular sports drinks still accounted for nearly 77% of total sales in 2012, but the consumer research firm believes that continued migration to lower-calorie and lower-sugar versions will drive sales and market share growth for diet sports drinks through 2017.

Pepsi’s Gatorade remains the category’s market leader. The brand was the fifth-largest beverage trademark in 2012, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. data, and commands about 75% of the sports drink market, while competitor Coca-Cola’s Powerade claims around 20% of the market, according to Euro-monitor International data.

In the first quarter of 2013, sales of Gatorade were up, while Coca-Cola’s sales of Powerade slipped, reversing a trend that has been threatening Gatorade’s wide lead. But the brand still needs to keep an eye on the competition. Mintel’s research shows that Powerade and Powerade Zero’s competitive pricing has helped to steadily increase sales for the brand, growing its market share in food, drug and mass channels from 14.3% to 23% from 2006 to 2011.

This year, Gatorade re-introduced Thirst Quencher Gatorade Frost in Glacier Cherry flavor. The drink is designed to help rehydrate, refuel and replace hydration that’s lost through sweat. Gatorade also introduced a new 11-oz. bottle for its Gatorade Recover Protein Shake with an easy-to-grab shape and twist-off cap.

Looking ahead, sports drinks that contain B vitamins for energy, such as Powerade ION4, could attract energy drink consumers who have grown concerned about the safety of those products. Mintel suggests that increased educational and marketing efforts focusing on the natural energy available from sports drinks could bring more energy drink users to the category. The consumer research company expects future growth in the segment to track with growth in the Hispanic consumer market, since use among Hispanic consumers is high.

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Sports Drinks Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Manufacturers look to solution-based products

BY Antoinette Alexander

In recent months, several manufacturers have come to the table with new, solution-based formulas that lean more toward treatments to battle such ailments as thinning hair and sensitive scalp.

"Thinning hair and hair fall are a universal — and for many, very emotional — problem for millions of women and men," stated Cihat Dunder, founder and CEO of B’iota Botanical Laboratories, in announcing the U.S. debut of its European herbal solution for people with thinning hair.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hereditary hair loss is a medical condition that affects about 30 million American women and about 50 million American men. Furthermore, a man has a 50% chance of experiencing hair loss by the time he is 50 years old.

After more than a decade in more than 35 countries, B’iota Botanical recently entered the U.S. market with B’iota shampoos and leave-in serum, which feature a proprietary blend of ingredients developed over four years by B’iota. When applied directly to the root of the hair, it has been clinically shown to reduce thinning hair due to damage and revitalize the appearance with thicker, fuller, stronger and faster-growing hair, the manufacturer stated.

Looking to help women battle fine and thinning hair, Dr. Lawrence Samuels, chief of dermatology at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis and founder of skin care and hair care product line Rx Systems PF, has formulated a line of hair-volumizing products and supplements called D-Fine. The D-Fine line of hair volumizing products includes shampoos, conditioners and vitamin supplements formulated to strengthen and thicken hair while promoting hair growth.

To help those suffering from sensitive scalp — which experts describe as itching, redness, tingling and burning — Kérastase Paris has brought its Dermo-Calm line to the United States. According to the brand, studies have shown that 2-out-of-5 women and 1-out-of-3 men are concerned with the health of their scalp because of its sensitive nature. Dermo-Calm aims to instantly soothe and calm a sensitive scalp, while providing suppleness and softness to hair. The collection includes Bain Vital Dermo-Calm shampoo and Sensidote Dermo-Calm intensive treatment.

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