The AP/Deo Market

November 8, 2005

The competition amon manufacturers in this traditionally brand loyal segment continues to drive new product innovations

Most consumers use a deodorant or antiperspirant product. Therefore manufacturers in this segment aren’t trying to boost penetration in this already saturated segment. Instead, their mission is to entice consumers to use their products. Because consumers tend to be extremely brand loyal to their AP/Deo products, marketers rely on innovation to lure consumers away from their competition.

Whether this innovation hinges on new delivery forms, unusual ingredients or suave marketing techniques, the AP/Deo market is evolving quickly with companies constantly offering new products and new brands to capture a large share of this $1.66 billion segment. Traditionally, Procter & Gamble’s Secret brand has been the No. 1 brand with women and Gillette’s Right Guard has led the men’s category. Last year was no exception. On the heels of its Platinum Protection launch last spring, Secret was able to boost its sales to $202 million during the 52-week period ended Jan. 2, according to Information Resources, Inc., Chicago, IL. Right Guard’s sales increased 6.1% to reach $159.2 million during the same period.

Gillette is poised to increase Right Guard’s sales this spring with the launch of its Xtreme Sport line next month. The line will include three forms—invisible solid, ultra gel and clear stick—in two scents, Cool Peak and Fresh Blast. Company executives hope to attract a younger consumer with this new line.

“Right Guard has always appealed to young men because of its sports appeal but we see an opportunity to increase this appeal as a huge portion of the population begins to use deodorant,” said Bernadette King. “We want to catch them as they begin using a product and hopefully keep them.”

True to Form
Antiperspirants and deodorants come in many forms—soft stick, soft solid, gel, roll-on and aerosol to name a few—and form can be as important as brand to consumers when choosing their products. For instance, because the gel form was developed by Gillette in the early 1990s, most users of this form are in the younger portion of the consumer population. Likewise, Gillette chose not to include an aerosol spray product in the Xtreme Sport line because it is a form more popular with older consumers—not the younger consumers being targeted with the line.

Last spring, P&G put a new spin on the soft solid form when it launched the Secret Platinum Protection line. A mesh dome sits atop the product so the product goes on more smoothly and completely. This delivery form has been so popular that P&G plans to incorporate it into its other AP/Deo lines, Sure (for women) and Old Spice (for men) soon.

“The form really allows the soft solid form to cover the underarm more completely,” said Colleen Leonard, Secret brand manager, P&G. “The mesh top together with the form allows for the smoother, cleaner application of an effective product.”

While the efficacy of a product is still by far the consumer’s utmost concern, underarm residue is a close second. Manufacturers are responding to this concern by developing effective products that claim to leave no trace behind. Ms. Leonard maintained that the mesh dome atop Secret Platinum Protection lets the product be absorbed quickly. “Making sure your product leaves no residue behind is still really important,” she said. “But you still have to make sure the product works.”

All three forms of the Right Guard Xtreme sport line are positioned as no residue products. The invisible solid form is a new version of the stick solid offered under the Right Guard brand. “It maintains the efficacy of the white stick form in a new technology that doesn’t leave residue,” Ms. King said.

Natural Dryness
The emergence of products containing natural ingredients has been evident in many segments of the personal care market. Shampoos, moisturizers, cleansers and makeup boasting the benefits of naturally sourced ingredients have become commonplace on store shelves and, therefore, it is no surprise that this trend has hit the antiperspirant and deodorant segment as well.

Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, ME, is a well-known manufacturer of natural oral care products. More recently, the company has entered the AP/Deo category. “We have seen tremendous growth in our deodorant category, as people are becoming much more aware of not only what they put in their bodies, but what they put on them as well,” said company spokesperson Kathleen Taggersell. “There is a commitment to overall body wellness that is translating to the way people live and to the way they shop.”

Tom’s of Maine has marketed natural-based deodorants for several years. These products contain lichen, a botanical ingredient that many people find helps controls odor, and lemongrass oil which is combined with sage to provide deodorant benefits. The products don’t contain aluminum, which blocks the perspiration function.

“There is a trend toward natural-oriented products in many personal care categories as well as a tremendous interest in natural dietary supplements,” remarked Ron Galante, vice president, new business development, Chattem, Chattanooga, TN. “As far as it emerging as something popular in the antiperspirant category, I can’t really say. But, that has been a trend in other categories.”

Next month Chattem will launch Ban Naturals, an eight SKU line of AP/Deos that are enriched with aloe, vitamin E and chamomile to soothe, protect and comfort skin. Available in solid stick and roll-on form in four scents, classic natural, unscented, fresh & clean and fresh scent, these products won’t irritate sensitive underarm skin, a major concern among consumers, according to the company.

The launch will mark the first major mass market AP/Deo positioned as a naturally-sourced product. According to Chattem research, 89% of consumers who tried the products in a home-use test said they would purchase the product and 70% of users said they preferred it to their current brands. In a segment where consumers are typically brand loyal, these results are particularly significant to Chattem, which purchased the Ban brand from Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1998. “We are tryingto achieve much more growth this year,” Mr. Galante said “Whenever we acquire a new brand, we always look at its position and reevaluate it. Then we try to develop new products that are unique and unusual to the marketplace. If you do this, I think most companies will see an increase in market share.”

For the 52-week period ended Jan. 2, Ban had a 4.5% share of the $1.6 billion AP/Deo market. The company will support this launch with a $19 million TV and radio ad campaign.

With sales of its Suave deodorant brand on the rise, growing 11.6% to reach $75.8 million last year, Unilever is hoping to capture a bigger piece of the AP/Deo segment with the launch of Dove AP. Company executives hope the new line will benefit from the success of the Dove beauty bar, the No. 1 recommended cleanser among dermatologists. Dove antiperspirant goes beyond effective protection, it also cares for skin with moisturizing lotion to keep skin soft and smooth.

“Dove is highly differentiated from other antiperspirant brand on the market due to its skin care benefit,” said Heather Kesler, associate brand manager. “Our research has confirmed that women who are interested in skin care are willing to switch to Dove AP. According to a study conducted by Unilever, 64% of women say that skin care is extremely important.”

For many women, daily washing, deodorants and shaving leave their underarms dry and irritated. Since only one percent of the underarm is comprised of sweat glands and 99% is skin, company executives wanted to create an antiperspirant that cared for skin while providing outstanding antiperspirant efficacy. “Consumers currently don’t think that an antiperspirant can offer more than great odor and wetness protection,” Ms. Kesler said. “We are offering a benefit that they might not expect but that they are excited to get.”

Dove AP comes in four alcohol-free formulations (invisible solid, solid, ultra dry soft solid and dry roll-on) and in four fragrances (powder, original, fresh and unscented).

The Search Continues
While consumers will always use an antiperspirant or deodorant, the kind they use will be determined by what the manufacturers offer. Whether it be a natural-based product or a youth-oriented line, manufacturers will continue to look for unfulfilled niches to capture consumer attention and grow their share of this important market. “People are alway going after the best efficacy and manufacturers are always looking for benefits
they can add to that efficacy to surprise and delight consumers,” P&G’s Ms. Leonard said.

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