Toiletries continue to be key products, and with the potential for impulsive top-up shops, remain even more crucial. Consumers tend to display brand loyalty, but in the present climate many are looking to see what other products are available.
According to Wilkinson Sword, men base their grooming routines around their shaving needs and recent market growth has been driven by consumers who are prepared to pay higher prices for innovative, premium razors and blades, rather than increasing category volumes.
Karen Williams, product manager at Energizer Wilkinson Sword, says: “Many men want to change their facial hair to suit their personal style and their mood. In the past this has meant using several different shaving tools to achieve a sharp, groomed look. Quattro Titanium Precision meets all shaving needs in one stylish, convenient and effective razor handle.”
Williams says, the successful launches of the Quattro Titanium Precision and Quattro Titanium Disposables, has seen Wilkinson Sword deliver pound;1.2m of additional sales in the last 12 weeks versus the same time last year and lead value growth of just under pound;0.5m for handles and disposables in the same period.
This year Wilkinson Sword also launched 2-in-1 Quattro for Women Bikini. According to Wilkinson Sword, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women regularly maintaining their bikini area, with 49% of women now incorporating this zone into their beauty regime versus only 35% in 1999. In addition, the incidence of hair removal from the underarm area and lower legs is high and in growth (89% of UK women remove hair from their underarms and 80% from their lower legs).
John Molyneux, business development manager toiletries UK of Lendlock Group, says: “In my opinion our market share is increasing at a healthy rate. We believe we will significantly increase turnover over the next 12 months. Because we have positioned ourselves at the value end of the market, I see no issues, including the much talked about credit crunch, that are or will affect our business. If anything I believe we will benefit as consumers are looking for good quality product at the lowest possible price.”
Lendlock produces a range of products under the Oil of Aloe brand.
Molyneux adds: “I view the wholesale market as vital to our business. As we are a relatively new business and are still looking for new wholesalers to take on our range. The wholesalers we have working with us are doing very well. Their business with us is increasing constantly.”
According to Procter Gamble, the male shopper is becoming more important to retailers. In less than a decade the male grooming category has doubled, and retailers are fighting for their piece of the action. The male grooming category is worth pound;726m in the UK and the current penetration in male skincare products presents an opportunity to attract new consumers to the category.
P G has launched Gillette Shave Care, a range of step-by-step skin care products for men, aiming to increase awareness and unlock potential growth across the category. The range includes pre-shave scrub and wash, shave gels and after-the-shave moisturiser, balm and gel.
Nathan Homer, brand manager for Gillette, says: “Male skin can be particularly prone to irritation and dryness immediately after shaving and this can be made worse without the correct three step regime. Half of UK men already use a skincare product, but less that a fifth actually buy a product designed for men. Gillette knows a man’s face best and our consumers already have great trust of and belief in the Gillette brand. Shaving is at the heart of male grooming and it’s our deep understanding of men’s skin that has inspired the new range.”
P G has also launched Gillette Venus Embrace, a five-blade ladies razor. Paul Lettice, trade communications manager at P G, says: “In a market where consumers are brand loyal and competition for advanced products is intense, it is more important than ever to identify and answer changing consumer needs.”
Also aiming to cater to consumers wants and needs is Sanex. It has created Natuprotect, a more natural deodorant with alum. Sanex uses the odour reducing properties of alum to replace the active artificial chemical found in regular deodorants. The British Skin Foundation has validated the research into Naturprotect.
Sanex has added to this with Naturprotect Anti White Marks formulation, aiming to offer 24-hour protection.
Margaret Jobling, marketing director of Sara Lee, says: “Radox shower and bath products continue to do particularly well as they are core to all independent retailers. At least one SKU from our shower and bath range are fundamental to any independent retail in the toiletries section. The heritage of the Radox brand and the fact that the brand continues to be the market leader ensures that there is always a demand for the core range.”
In 2008 Radox launched its Shower Smoothies and reports it was received well by the channel and that there will be additional development in this area with an extension to the range.
Jobling continues: “We like to run price promotions and normally carry out three to four a year. We always try to provide multiple offers as they always prove very popular to both the wholesalers and retailers. 2009 will be a big year for Radox and while continuing to offer the core and trusted ranges of products we will also offer brand new product ranges that will offer added value to our customers.
“Radox are very well aware of the market at present so will continue to make sure our deals appeal to both our wholesalers and their retailers. We can be very flexible and are passionate in helping the wholesale channel in whatever we can. For instance we will continue to offer specific value packs and specific price-marked packs which we know are very popular with retailers and are only available through our wholesaler customers.”
Nick Widdowson, Unilever’s merchandising manager, says: “Although every household in the UK buys into the health and beauty market, 18% of UK shoppers do not know that toiletries are sold in their local convenience store. The category could therefore prove to be very valuable to independent retailers, so it is very important shoppers can first see the category, and then identify the different areas within the category.”
Unilever has developed a range of products recently, including Dove Go Fresh Burst Body Wash, Dove Intensive range for Extra Dry Skin, Sure and Dove Maximum Protection, and extended the Dove Supreme Cream Oil body wash.
Julie McCleave, senior skin category manager at Unilever UK, says: “Since launch in 2007 Dove Supreme Cream Oil Body Wash has been hugely successful. The shower variant has brought 140,000 new consumers into the Dove brand. Our innovative new additions to the range will drive this success and continue to encourage trade-up to a more luxurious cleansing experience. By extending the Dove Supreme Cream Oil portfolio we are offering more choice, encouraging trial and cross category purchasing.
Unilever has also launched Lynx Instinct in Lynx Bullet, a portable pocket-sized format. Duncan Ramsay, launch manager for Lynx Bullet at Unilever UK, says: “Lynx Bullet is the first pocket-sized male body spay to be launched in the UK. Lynx Bullet has been designed to be sprayed at a moment’s notice at anytime of the day or night.”