Wipe Out

October 20, 2005

Ingenuity and imagination spur growth as wipes expand into even more markets.

Wipes. Everyone loves them for their ease of use and disposability. Once, they could only be found in a diaper bag or as a packet of Wet Ones, popping up at a seasonal barbeque. But in recent years, manufacturers have realized that wipes were being used for a lot more than just wiping messy faces and bottoms, and the market opened up for tailored wipes to meet a variety of personal and household needs. 


Cool Moisture facial cleansing cloths are the newest addition
 to Dove’s Cool Moisture line.
According to Information Resources, Inc., Chicago, dollar sales for both moist towelettes and baby wipes grew more than 5% in the year ending July 10, 2005. Euromonitor International indicates that sales of all wipes in the U.S. jumped from $193 million in 1999 to more than $954 million in 2004. Globally, sales jumped from $661 million in 1999 to nearly $2 billion in 2004.

As the wipes market continues to grow, some companies are taking advantage of their popularity to expand their  brands. One notable example is Yankee Candle. Once recognized for its distinctive fragranced candle line, the company recently rolled out Clean Scents, home care products that banish malodorous smells with odor eliminating agents. The Clean Scents line includes laundry detergents and softeners, car refreshers, odor eliminating candles and household cleaners, a line that included All Purpose Cleaning Wipes. Available in MacIntosh, Juicy Grapefruit, Clean Cotton and Lavender scents, 25 wipes retail for $8.99.

According to Allison Bleyler, director of marketing, Yankee Candle added a wipe to its Clean Scents line because they provide ease and convenience that is ideal for small clean-ups and daily use.

Daily Facials Night Cleansing cloths from Olay encourage consumers to remove makeup and grime before going to bed. 
“Clean Scents wipes are perfect for easy, everyday odor-control and fragrance. An advantage is that consumers don’t need to grab a cloth and a bottle of cleaner, just one wipe is all they need,” she explained.  “Clean Scents combine cleaning and odor-fighting power with popular Yankee scents to provide fresh-smelling clean.”

Church & Dwight extended its Nair franchise with Lasting Effects Ready to Use Wax Strips, salon-quality hair removal aids available in three sizes for face and body. Resin wax on cloth strips make them effective and easy to use, but a major selling feature is the after-use moisturizing towelette with chamomile to soothe, calm and soften skin after hair removal.

Why did Nair choose to include a towelette moisturizer  instead of a bottled cream or lotion? According to Timothy Fowler, research and development, Nair, the towelette was selected for a variety of reasons, one of the main being that it allows the user to achieve both residual wax removal and skin moisturization in one easy step.

“Often when creams or lotions are provided to the consumer, they’re told to use them with a cotton ball to remove the residual wax,” Mr. Fowler explained. “The use of a towelette was more convenient for the consumer than trying to use a cotton ball, where the consumer will need to figure out for themselves exactly how much cream or lotion to apply. If they add too much cream they will be left feeling greasy, with too little they will not get adequate wax removal. Thus, with the towelette it is pre-dosed to eliminate any guesswork.”

The Nair towelette contains three key ingredients: baby oil, which serves a dual purpose of removing any residual wax while moisturizing and leaving skin smooth and radiant, and chamomile and bisabolol, which are known for their soothing, relaxing properties. Each towelette is individually wrapped in foil for easy storage and convenience and the towelettes themselves are a nonwoven material which, unlike a cotton ball, won’t pill or tear during application.


Let’s Face It

Facial care products continue to take advantage of the purchasing public’s love of wipes. Cool Moisture facial cleansing cloths are the newest additions to Dove’s Cool Moisture line of products which includes the beauty bar, body wash and lotion.

Cool Moisture cleansing cloths deliver a refreshing clean rinse feel combined with moisturization benefits for healthy, deeply hydrated and beautiful skin. They remove makeup and cleanse without stripping or drying, while genuinely improving the condition and feel of skin.  The formula contains green tea, which calms with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Pure cucumber extract soothes and refreshes skin. The 30-count vanity pack retails for $5.99.

New and improved h2off cleansing cloths are part of Stila’s Petal Infusions skin care line. Designed as a basic program of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting, Stila’s Petal Infusions nurtures and creates healthy skin. Retailing for $24, the cloths contain bergamot oil, slender rice flower essence and sweet orange oil and are designed to remove impurities and brighten and clarify skin without drying on the outside, while “encouraging humility and harmony on the inside,” according to the company.

Ken Lynch, Stila’s executive director of product development, wanted to make a good thing better.

“When the Stila h2offs were initially launched, they were a huge success. When we were creating our skin care line, we decided to move that product into the collection and update the formula to make it compatible with the other products’ ingredients. The benefits to using h2off wipes is that they are single-use, sanitary, quick, easy-to-use, convenient and portable so you can use them anytime or anywhere.”

According to a recent study by Olay, only 45% of women regularly use a cleanser in both the morning and evening.  

“Caring for your skin each night is key to keeping it beautiful and healthy,” noted Olay principle scientist Mary Johnson.  “After a late night, we’ve all been tempted to crawl into bed without washing off the makeup and grime that has accumulated on our faces throughout the day. It’s not only important to cleanse before bedtime, but also to prepare the face with moisture for the rejuvenation your skin undergoes during sleep,” she said. New Olay Daily Facials Night Cleansing Cloths are specifically formulated to deeply cleanse—removing makeup and oil—while simultaneously infusing skin with moisture.

Daily Facials Night Cleansing cloths are infused with a rich lather, and the dual-textured cloths clean deep down in the pores like a scrub, to remove water-proof mascara and add essential moisture to skin.  One side is soft for gentle cleansing around the eyes, and the other side is textured for exfoliating and deeper cleansing. They can be used in place of a cleansing routine that includes bar soap, make-up remover, face wash, cleansing milk and toner. The formula includes lavender,  chamomile and gentle cleansers.  

Olay Daily Facials night cleansing cloth retail for $5.99. The full Daily Facials product line includes self-foaming discs, lathering cloths, express wet cloths, Intensives and Clarity.

Desperate Housewipes

Household products continue to benefit from the wipes expansion. There was a time when baby wipes—virtually the only wipe on the market—were used for a plethora of household chores, such as cleaning appliances, polishing car seats or making surfaces shine. But marketers finally caught on that if they made wipes available in a wide range of uses, consumers would respond favorably.

Murphy’s new formula utilizes dust-repellent technology to enhance its wood cleaner.
Murphy Oil Soap, which has been a leading brand of all-purpose household cleaners and wood product care for 100 years, embraced the wipes trend wholeheartedly, and has recently introduced the Murphy Soft Wipe with a dust-repellent formula that actively repels dust from finished wood and other surfaces.

The new anti-static formula works by helping to delay dust particles from resettling on freshly cleaned surfaces. Murphy Soft Wipes are safe to use on finished wood surfaces and are designed for cleaning furniture, kitchen cabinets and tables, doors and wood trim. They clean dust and grime without leaving behind an oily residue and are packaged in an easy “peel and re-seal” pouch.

“Our new Murphy Soft Wipe dust repellent technology helps delay dust from re-depositing on freshly cleaned surfaces,” said Peter Ryan, vice president and general manager, U.S. household care for Colgate-Palmolive. “Our new wipe product makes cleaning wood and other surfaces around the home convenient, quick and long-lasting.”

Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer, which took the world by storm with its sweeper utilizing dry electro-static nonwoven cloths for maximum pick-up, has launched the Swiffer WetJet mopping system, which promises to transform the dreadful chore of floor cleaning into a quick and easy task.

In a company poll, 46% of respondents said they rarely see their reflection on the floor after cleaning, regardless of the time and effort they put into the task.  

“Swiffer wanted to find a solution to this problem and asked respondents what improvement in floor cleaning would help them achieve the same results,” said Kristine Decker, Swiffer brand manager. Survey respondents overwhelmingly (84%) said that replacing heavy mop heads with lighter, easy to use implements would do the trick.

Clean Scents cleaning wipes are infused  with popular Yankee Candle fragrances.
“The new Swiffer WetJet now features improved spraying to enhance its overall performance and a new purple color. In addition, the WetJet pad traps and locks dirt away instead of leaving it behind like a traditional mop and bucket,”  Ms. Decker said.  

The Swiffer WetJet’s suggested retail price is $19.99.  The new starter kit contains one battery-operated WetJet, one bottle of multi-purpose cleaning solution, three disposable cleaning pads and four scrubbing strips.

P&G’s Kent Lynde, associate director in global household care, R&D for , listed several reasons why consumers have become so enamored with wipes for various household applications.

“In my opinion,” he said, “this category has become popular with consumers due to time-saving capabilities, ease of use, immediate availability, high performance, hygiene benefits, improved quality of life for consumers and a reduction in usage of household energy.


Private Label, Pubic Appeal

According to IRI, private label baby wipes were the No. 1 seller for the year ending July 10, 2005, beating out various market leaders such as Huggies, Luvs and Pampers. When a leading brand launches a successful product, private label innovation usually isn’t far behind. Proof of this trend is Sheboygan, WI-based Rockline Industries’ recent development of a soft and stretchy kids’ moist towelette that is being billed as the national brand equivalent to Procter &Gamble’s Kandoo line.

Nair's Lasting Effects wax strips can be used on the face or body. Conditioning towelettes remove excess wax and soften skin. 
“We are launching a 50-count, colorful push-button tub, a 50-count refill/travel pack and a 100-count large refill package,” explained Cathie Petak, category manager for Rockline. “Our kids’ moist toilet tissue is available in private label as well as in the On My Own format and are available in melon and tropical fragrances. This is a great toilet training and general hygiene product for toddlers.”

During the past 12 months, Rockline’s new product offerings also included line extensions for its baby wipes and antibacterial wipes lineup, as well as several product improvements. Carmen Baker, senior category manager, remarked that the leading growth categories are household cleaning wipes and some of the personal care wipes (such as flushable moist wipes) as well as feminine care wipes.

“We have seen growth in our market, private label or store brand, in both of these categories recently, and feel that both will continue to grow from a private label perspective,” Ms. Baker stated. “Household cleaning wipes are mainly about convenience. Consumers are busy, with increased work and family responsibilities. Wipes are a quicker, easier way for consumers to clean their houses, giving them more time to spend with family and friends.  Personal care applications make a lot of sense as many of the new applications represent easier ways to improve personal hygiene.”

Converting specialist Nice-Pak Products, Orangeburg, NY, is another company taking advantage of opportunities to compete in the private label kids wipes area. The company has several new personal care products including i Go! moist wipes, which are positioned to provide a value-priced brand for the growing toddler pre-moistened toilet wipe market. Nice-Pak offers 50 wipes in a brightly colored press-top tub and a 50-count resealable refill i Go! wipes are berry scented and made from a flushable spunlace material, comparable to the Pampers Kandoo product. Nice-Pak is offering these either as a private label branded opportunity or under the Nice’N Clean i Go!  brand. 

Another kid-friendly introduction from Nice-Pak is Back-Pack Buddies antibacterial moist wipes. The 20-count pack is a convenient size for lunch boxes, backpacks and desks.

“Parents are more conscious than ever of the need to clean hands and kill germs,” explained Katya Connor, category director for Nice-Pak, personal care consumer division. Nice N’Clean exfoliating cleansing towelettes were introduced to the facial cleansing market in January. They offer soft cleansing beads and a clean, refreshing cucumber scent. They are hypoallergenic and effectively remove makeup, even waterproof mascara. Available in a 30-count tub, a 30-count re-sealable refill or a 15-count travel pack, they can be marketed as either a private label or under the Nice’N Clean brand name.   


Can the Boom Last?

Wipes are booming, and with a boom usually comes a bust, but when will the consumer tire of these handy, disposable cloths? According to Allison Bleyler, director of marketing, Yankee Candle, wipes products will continue to grow and become a core item in most households.

“The category is definitely growing,” agreed Mr. Lynde of P&G. “It is becoming clear that manufacturers cannot rest on their laurels as new innovations are on the horizon, creating a whole new specialized arena for nonwovens, specifically bathroom cleaning and toilet cleaning.”

Stila’s Petal Infusions h2off cleansing cloths remove impurities and brighten and clarify skin without drying. 
Mr. Lynch of Stila said there are still a lot of areas to be explored.

“Aside from cleansing, other beauty companies have developed tanning wipes, cleanser/exfoliant wipes, and fragrance wipes. I think that there will certainly be other uses for wipes as the demand for multi-purpose products that are portable, quick and easy to use continues to grow.”

Ms. Connor of Nice-Pak said that consumer desire for convenience and cleanliness will continue to drive the personal care wipe market.

“In our time-pressed society, the desire for convenience is only going to increase. Additionally, we are more germ-conscious. Last winter’s flu vaccine shortage raised awareness of the need for frequent hand washing. Portable wet wipes for cars, purses, backpacks and lunch boxes will benefit as a result of this awareness,” she continued. “As the wet wipe market matures and usage expands throughout the population, consumers will probably become more value conscious, looking for just the right mix of quality and cost.”          

Other demographic and lifestyle changes that will influence the development of new moist wipes products include the aging of the population and the increase of metrosexual men who are more appearance conscious. Some wet wipe products are moving beyond basic cleansing and offering anti-aging, anti-acne, exfoliating and sensitive skin benefits.     

Consumeres are increasingly cost conscious, and are expected to be even more so in the future. While consumers continue to search for just the right combination of quality and cost, producers must respond with products that exceed these demands.

Concluded Ms. O’Connor, “Wipe products need to strike the right balance between functionality and cost per use to be successful in the market. Price alone will not build the market and meet the functionality and quality expectations of the consumer.”


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