|Title:||United Kingdom take-home share of personal care products in pounds sterling, number of packs, and percent change for year ending February 19, 2012|
Start of full article - but without data
TAKE HOME SHARE
Personal care: XX w/e XX February 2012
VALUE VOLUME [pounds sterling]m y-o-y% packs (m) y-o-y%
Skincare X,XXX.X X.X XXX.X -X.X
Deodorants XXX.X X.X XXX.X -X.X
Bath & shower XXX.X -X.X XXX.X -X.X
Shampoo XXX.X XX.X XXX.X X.X
Razor blades XXX.X X.X XX.X -X.X
Toothpaste XXX.X X.X XXX.X X.X
Hair colourants XXX.X XX.X XX.X X.X
Hair conditioners XXX.X X.X XXX.X X.X
Toothbrushes XXX.X -X.X XX.X X.X
Sanitary protection XXX.X X.X XXX.X X.X
Moist wipes XXX.X X.X XXX.X X.X
Sun creams XXX.X -X.X XX.X -X.X
Mouthwashes XXX.X -X.X XXX.X X.X
Liquid soap XXX.X XX.X XXX.X X.X
Hairsuras XXX.X X.X XX.X X.X
Men's skincare XX.X -X.X XX.X -XX.X
Shaving soaps XX.X -X.X XX.X -X.X
Incontinence products XX.X X.X XX.X X.X
Bar soap XX.X X.X XX.X -X.X
Cotton wool XX.X X.X XX.X -X.X
TOTAL (MARKET) X,XXX.X XX XX,XXX.X -X.X
It's not personal - it's the economy. The lipstick effect may have helped boost value sales in the personal care category by X.X%, more than doubling last year's X.X% growth, but volume sales are in decline for the first time since 2008 [Kantar Worldpanel].
For every consumer trying to cheer themselves up with little luxuries, there's another who has cut back on what they see as discretionary spend, it seems. In the case of women, that means trading down or buying better quality goods less often. In the case of men, more and more are clearly embracing their inner retrosexual - and outer facial fur - and opting out of the category altogether, judging by the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures for male skincare and shaving products.
The problem has been compounded by a change in promotional tactics. Personal care has long been one of the most heavily promoted categories in fmcg, with a huge XX% of volume sold on deal [SymphonyIRI]. Recently, however, the multibuy deals that have historically driven footfall have made way for 'save' deals, with the inevitable knock-on effect on volume sales.
So why have retailers changed their promotional strategy - and what can the brands do to claw back volume without compromising value growth?
As disposable incomes are squeezed, promotions have become more important than ever to personal care, a category perennially at risk of being perceived a 'nice to have'. The volume of product sold on deal rose by X.X% last year [SymphonylRl]. "The key coping mechanism customers are using is buying more on promotion," confirms Rhian Bartlett, Sainsbury's beauty category manager.
But although more consumers are buying on deal, they are becoming increasingly fussy about the sort of deal - for obvious reason. As Tim Eales, SymphonyIRI director of strategic insight, points out: "To benefit from three-for-two you've got to pay for two."
Retailers are therefore putting a greater onus on money-off deals that allow people to save when buying only one item. "Roundpound promotions, like two for X, are also very popular," notes Eales.
The industry is a long way off abandoning multibuys - deals across multiple units, such as x-for-y or x-for-discount, still make up XX.X% of activity [Brandview.co.uk]. But the shift has begun. In the final quarter of 2011, XX.X% of deals were bogof or three-for-two; in the first quarter of 2012, they made up XX.X%.
Volumes, unsurprisingly, have suffered, dipping by X.X%. But this is not wholly down to promotions. It's also indicative of changing habits. "Some consumers have been making products last longer," says Brett Allan, category manager at Unilever UK. "Others are viewing personal care products as luxury purchases and avoiding them completely."
Take men, for instance. The bottom has fallen out of male grooming in the past year. Shaving soaps fell X% in value and X% in volume, and male skincare nosedived X% in value and XX% in volume [Kantar Worldpanel]
Some experts maintain the big brands are not doing enough to give men a reason to buy. "I get a sense of confusion with the way the bigger brands explain their products," says Simon Duffy, founder of men's skincare brand Bulldog Natural Grooming. "There's just a 'for men' version of a women's brand. Men want something designed for them."
The brands, however, argue that falling volumes are down to better quality. The X% dip in volumes of razor blades - and their X% rise in value - is exactly what Irwin Lee, P&G UK VP and MD, predicted. "You expect to lose volume because new blades last longer," he told The Grocer in June 2011. "But people will pay a little more and value should go up."
If that's the case, we can expect to see volumes of blades stabilise (pending, of course, the next cutting-edge NPD). But so far, not even a hike in male grooming promos - volume sold on deal rose from XX% in 2010 to XX% in 2011 - has got men buying, because, Nielsen says, they tend not to have the same 'treat mentality' as women when it comes to personal care and therefore see the category as a good place to cut spend.
With women, it's a very different story. While the category's value growth can partly be attributed to upward price pressure, including VAT hikes, it's also benefited from the 'lipstick effect': shoppers treating themselves to little luxuries as a mood booster.
The brand-dominated personal care sector is particularly well-placed to benefit. Unlike other categories, it has not witnessed a flight to own label. Indeed, own label's market share has fallen to X.X%, continuing a steady decline from 1998, when it made up XX.X%.
Increased promotional intensity has helped the brands, reducing the need for consumers to turn to own label for value for money. The category has also benefited from consumers cutting back on other areas - for instance, trips to the salon. Shampoo and hair colourant both enjoyed value growth of XX%, with volumes up X% and X%, respectively - and setting spray grew an impressive XX% in value and X% in volume [Kantar Worldpanel].
With the economy back in recession, there's scope for further growth, believe suppliers. "There is a real opportunity to trade shoppers up into premium products that offer salon results at home," says Dove Hair brand manager Sandra Ferreira.
NPD is key, though, which is why Lynx launched Lynx Hair - a range of shampoos and styling products specifically for men - in January, and followed up in February with Attract, a range of his-and-hers deodorants. The activity has helped the brand boost value sales by X.X% year-on-year [SymphonyIRI], despite a X% dip in ad spend [Ebiquity]. And the brand isn't the only one playing hardball for men's hard-earned cash - as the recent wave of male-oriented NPD attests (see right).
In fact, 2012 is likely to involve more NPD all round. "We should expect a lot of NPD to keep shoppers engaged," says Kantar Worldpanel strategic insight director Tim Nancholas.
We can also expect more promotional activity, but brands should be wary of being overly reliant on promotions. If they try to compete solely on price, there's little to set them apart - and stand out from the crowd they must if they want to survive in the current recessionary environment.
Or things really could get personal.
* The personal care market has grown annually by X.X% - on the face of it, a reasonable performance, until we remember that inflation is currently running at X.X% and the number of packs sold was down slightly year-on-year.
* Skincare, far and away the largest market, suffered from heavy promotional activity and relatively modest NPD compared with 2010 - although 2012 is already looking better.