Masculine products and more skin care-like ingredients are on
the rise as makers of personal cleansers look to connect with
grooming-conscious men and moisture-craving women. But will
new products from major brands keep consumers loyal as the
economy continues to wobble?
SOAP. IT’S AN EVERYDAY ESSENTIAL for millions of American consumers and it is used multiple
times each day to ward off germs. That’s the good news for makers of shower gels, bar soaps, body
washes and hand cleansers.
Yet, even as marketers pitch skin-caring ingredients, add more sophisticated scents and extend
their lines with new products that target select consumers and address specific conditions, the market for bath and shower products remains a mixed bag, with the liquid sector gaining at the expense
of bar soap. According to data from Euromonitor International, Chicago, body wash and shower gel
sales in 2007 were $1.7 billion, representing a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8% since
2002, and during that same period, liquid soap sales rose 7.2% to $727.3 million. Meanwhile, bar
soaps fell 3.4% from $1.4 billion in 2002 to $1.2 billion in 2007.
Men’s Market Heats Up
One area of focus is the men’s category. Following the overall pattern in men’s grooming, soap sellers are
launching new gender-specific shower products in an effort to become part of every man’s morning routine. In
mass, new launches are backed by brands the average Joe recognizes, and may already be using in another
product category, such as deodorant or razors.
With Gillette Fusion already a member of P&G’s billion-dollar club, adding new
body washes, as well as hair care products, seemed a logical move for the franchise.
Its new 2-in-1 body washes, which bowed in May, include Gillette Gentle Clean
Shampoo + Body Wash, Gillette Oil Control Face + Body Wash and Gillette Dry Skin
Hydrator + Body Wash. Each features dual-phase technology that keeps cleansers
and hydrators in separate internal compartments within the same bottle until they
are combined in the shower.
Also offering dual benefits is P&G’s Old Spice Double Impact Body Wash. The wash’s
Advanced Hydration technology—which features a separate moisturizing layer inside the
layer that delivers the cleansing benefits—visibly improves skin’s appearance in just five
days, according to the company.
The dual-functionality of both P&G products is a perfect fit for the men’s market.
Even if the average guy is more open to using a wider array of grooming products, he
wants ones that will simplify his daily routine.
According to Kat Fay, a senior analyst with Mintel International, these line
extensions to today’s “training” fragrances—Old Spice, Tag and Axe—do well with
men, especially 18-24 year olds, because they don’t have a scent that competes with
his deodorant or body spray.
But that’s not the case with Axe’s newest scented shower product. Having
Axe Dark Temptation is one of several new male-oriented personal cleansers hitting the market.