Personal care sees solid growth
PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Is the personal care market ripe for acquisitions? Global consulting and research firm Kline & Co. thinks so.
"Clearly, companies continue to emphasize growth agendas and make significant funding available — both strategic and financial sponsors — to realize such aspirations. Such an improving environment is increasingly attractive for mergers and acquisitions and a growing number of smaller, often privately held, cosmetic and toiletry companies are contemplating, developing and/or executing exits. As such, 2013 portends to offer even greater deal flow as many companies look to invest in new growth opportunities," stated Eric Vogelsberg, SVP at Kline’s M&A Advisory, in announcing the findings earlier this year.
While Procter & Gamble maintains its lead in the U.S. personal care market, and other major companies, such as L’Oréal, are enjoying solid growth, smaller companies are making strong headway, according to Kline.
Kline added that, within the presently fertile M&A climate, smaller companies are increasingly attractive acquisition prospects by larger, cashed-up and savvy players. For example, earlier this year, L’Oréal’s CEO Jean-Paul Agon announced that he was ready to make important acquisitions to maintain growth, and this has already been borne out by the recent acquisition of Interconsumer Products, one of Kenya’s largest manufacturers of personal care and beauty products.
Price a primary factor in hygiene purchases
Fortunately, daily hygiene is more or less recession-proof. Thanks to the near universal usage of soap, bath and shower products, this market has been largely unscathed by the weakened economy and is expected to enjoy growth going forward. That being said, consumers have altered their buying habits of such products in recent years, and are looking for value. Manufacturers looking to bolster sales will need to continue to integrate additional benefits.
According to Mintel Group, the U.S. soap, bath and shower market achieved $5 billion in total retail sales in 2012, up 25% from the $4 billion observed in 2007. With the market slated to grow by about 2% to 3% annually, sales of such products are estimated to reach $5.8 billion in total sales in 2017.
But the economy has no doubt left its mark and is impacting how consumers shop. "Consumers are cost-conscious and careful in scrutinizing their spending, particularly for daily use personal care products that require frequent purchase. Mintel’s consumer research reveals that among product purchasers, price is the most important purchase factor when it comes to shopping in this category. Consumers are also trading down to less expensive brands, product formats and turning to private-label offerings in order to save money where possible," Mintel stated in its March 2013 report on U.S. soap, bath and shower products.
Furthermore, Mintel’s research found that some 83% of respondents report that price is important to them when buying such products, followed by 74% citing scent and 68% citing familiar brands.
In order to attract consumers back to branded products, Mintel recommended that manufacturers continue to integrate additional benefits, such as anti-aging or multi-use, as well as positioning the products as "affordable luxuries." The attributes most sought after in soap, bath and shower products are moisturizing and deodorizing.
Manufacturers are heeding the call. For example, playing on the "affordable luxury positioning," personal care brand Calgon — known for its iconic "Calgon, Take Me Away!" tagline — recently announced the launch of four new fragrances within its Classic Calgon and Sensual collections, as well as a complete re-launch of its packaging. The brand also upgraded its collection of body creams and body washes with nourishing shea butter.
For parents looking for children’s products with added benefits, the creators of Mr. Bubble recently launched multi-use formulas — Bubble Bath Mr. Bubble Original Bubble and Extra Gentle 3-in-1 Body Wash, Shampoo & Conditioners.
So, what’s ahead? "Soap, bath and shower products are a key product for maintaining one’s hygiene and form the foundation for a personal care routine," Mintel stated. "The greater integration of additional cosmetic and functional benefits will be important to drive accelerated market growth in the coming years and recapture growing consumer interest in private label and lower cost product offerings."
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Hispanic-centric Sal de Uvas Picot climbs onto best-seller list
NEW YORK — It was only a matter of time before a Hispanic-centric OTC product with roots in South America started making its way toward the top of consumer packaged goods sales lists. Bristol-Myers Squibb de Mexico’s Sal de Uvas Picot is the third-largest liquid/powder antacid brand on the market today for the 12 weeks ended April 21. And while its $1.2 million base — across total U.S. multi-outlets, data courtesy IRI — is only growing at a mid-single digit rate, you can expect Hispanic-centric remedies to continue to climb onto any best-seller list.
That’s especially true with antacids, which are heavily indexed among Hispanic shoppers.
Hispanics, as a group, spend nearly 8% more on CPGs than any other population, according to IRI research. Hispanic shoppers also are more brand-loyal and gravitate toward those retailers and products that actively engage them in their native dialect, such as through store signage or products like Picot that originate from south of the border — in this case Mexico.
"Establishing and building strong brand relationships with these shoppers early in the acculturation process is key," suggested an IRI report on Hispanic marketing. "With more than three-quarters of unacculturated Hispanics consistently preferring to purchase the same brands,
investing the time, money and effort necessary to break into the Hispanic shopping basket … often will provide long-standing rewards."
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