to nearly $1.2 billion. Christian Dior’s J’adore, Miss Dior and
Dior Homme all posted solid gains and Dior Addict lipstick was
popular too. Guerlain’s sales rose on the strength of La Petit
Robe Noire and the success of Orchidée Impériale, a high-end
skin care line.
9. Lion JAPAN
SALES: $3.5 BILLION
Key Personnel: Sadayoshi Fujishige, chairman; Itsuo Hama,
president; Masazumi Kikukawa, executive general manager,
health and home care products; Kenjiro Kobayashi, executive
general manager, international division.
Major Products: Oral care, skin care, beauty products, toiletries,
fabric care, home care and household cleaners.
New Products: Top Hygia detergent, Look Bath Antimold
Fogger, KireiKirei medicated foaming hand soap, Dentor Systema
Toothpaste Sensitive Care, Fleuria hair care.
Comments: The double-whammy of economic malaise and
heated competition on-shelf has wreaked havoc with Japanese
companies’results for the past several years and Lion, as a key
domestic player in the household and oral care spaces, has felt
the effects. The company notes that it competes in 42 “daily
necessity” categories, where in recent years, has seen a steady
decline in retail price of about 1% a year. Meanwhile, unit sales
have risen 1-3% a year. As a result, the market has risen about
1% overall, which was the case in 2012, according to Lion,
which reported corporate sales of $3.9 billion
As for its own results, domestic sales rose 1.4% last year to
more than $3.1 billion. Oral care sales were up 4.1% and fabric
care sales rose 1.3%, but beauty care sales fell 10.7%.
Still there are some bright spots. Lion noted that the market share for high-value-added, super-concentrated liquid
laundry detergent has risen from just 2% in 2009 to 20% in
2012. The company expects this product form will account for
40% of segment sales by 2015. No wonder why the company
launched Top Hygia, which promises to enhance the antibacterial properties of clothing with each wash. Similarly, demand
for premium toothpaste is rising, as witnessed by the 111%
increase in sales posted by Lion’s Dent Health brand.
In the household space, Lion’s new Look Bath Antimold
Fogger contains silver ions to kill black mold and spores
throughout the bathroom upon application and makes it difficult for mold to regrow, thus making future cleaning easier.
Economic malaise in Japan continues to crimp laundry detergent sales.
Lion also competes outside Japan, primarily in Thailand,
South Korea and China. International sales rose 10.1% last
year to nearly $700 million.
This year, Lion has stepped up international marketing activities for its oral care and laundry detergents and began operations
in the Philippines. To boost sales in its stagnant home market,
Lion is launching high value-added toothpastes, toothbrushes,
antiperspirants and laundry detergents, and will expand its lineup of products sold through direct-to-consumer channels.
One of these new products is Ban Shower deodorant, in
a mist-spray format, that contains something called “deep
nano ion sterilization” blended with proprietary micro powder ingredients to provide a long-lasting feeling of smooth
skin. Another value-added launch making nano promises is
Top Nanox, a super-concentrated liquid laundry detergent that
removes dirt and odor by decomposing them into nano-sized
particles. The new Clinica Advantage toothbrush has a super-slim head and neck to reach molars which, Lion contends, are
lost by 14% of people in their 30s and 40s. Most recently, in
June, Lion launched Fleuria, a hair care line that is designed
to help older women achieve fuller hair. It contains 6-benzyl-
aminopurine to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Interestingly, Fleuria is only available through mail-order.
Due to these and other activities, the company expects
2013 sales to rise 2%. So far in 2013, Lion is making good on
that prediction, as first quarter sales rose 6% to nearly $760
million. While domestic consumer product sales rose less
than 1%, sales outside Japan jumped 32.2% due, in part, to
currency fluctuation, as well as strong demand for Pao laundry detergent in Thailand and Beat liquid laundry detergent
in South Korea.