Soap Floats In Murky Water

November 22, 2005

Bar soaps lead the category while antibacterial liquid soaps are beginning to outshine the body wash segment.

Taking a bath can still be squeaky clean fun, but the personal cleansing segment has undergone dramatic change in recent years, primarily a movement away from bar soaps to liquid variants. Euromonitor International, Chicago, said combined sales of bar soaps ($1.3 billion) and body washes/shower gels ($1.1 billion) account for about 56% of the total $4.3 billion U.S. bath and showers products sector, besides products such as liquid soaps, bath additives and talcum powder. Unfortunately, the category’s performance has been less than stellar.

“Sales for U.S. bath and shower products have largely been flat in recent years, reflecting both market maturity and many U.S. consumers’ reluctance to trade up to more expensive bathing products for everyday needs,” explained Will Cobbins, Euromonitor research analyst.

Acceptance of bar soap still remains high. Dove consumer research found that 83% of U.S. men prefer bar soaps compared to 59% of women. And soap bars have become more sophisticated with added benefits.

“Bar soaps, comprising about 30% of sector in value terms, still remain the most popular bath and shower product, though this is markedly down from 1999 when it captured 37%,” noted Mr. Cobbins. “Over the past year, bar soap brands have taken note of gains by shower gels, hoping to stem the tide of falling sales.”

Body washes are formulated with more enticing ingredients such as silk proteins and a wider array of scents. Dove research indicated more women (39%) than men (13%) prefer body wash. Dove holds the No. 1 spot in the liquid body soap and non-deodorant bar soap categories in the mass market, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), Chicago, for the year ended Aug. 8. This excludes Wal-Mart sales.

But what men wash with is not the whole picture. Emerging categories, such as liquid soap, are further challenging both the bar soap and body wash categories.
Zum Wash is Indigo Wild’s first entry into the liquid soap market.

A Lotion or a Wash?
A new category is starting to emerge that isn’t quite a lotion yet isn’t quite a body wash, such as Olay’s new Moisturinse In-Shower lotion, introduced in July. Like a hair conditioner, the lotion is applied in the shower after cleansing and then rinsed off. P&G executives said nearly 60% of consumers tested said Olay Moisturinse is the best moisturizing routine they have ever experienced. And the initial response was strong—sales from July to September were $2.2 million, according to IRI.

The unique petrolatum formula with a polymeric emulsifier captures the humidity and warmth of the shower to moisturize skin. Olay Moisturinse retails in 8.4-oz. and 15.2-oz. sizes for $4.99 and $6.99, respectively.

Not to be outdone, Unilever is planning to introduce an in-shower lotion in January under its Suave brand.

Raising the Bar
Bar soaps are still popular in the bath and shower category, but they are barely holding on to the No. 1 spot. They appeal to consumers due to their more affordable pricing and ability to last longer in the bathroom. For some, bar soaps are all about the experience.

“Bar soap is organic and raw, but liquid soap is a little easier to use, silky and sensual,” insisted Emily Voth, founder of Indigo Wild, Kansas City. “There is also something mystical about liquid soap; it is transparent yet it cleans.”

Indigo Wild, known for its colorful handcrafted and moisturizing Zum goats milk soap bars, is targeting men with its new Zar line. Included is the All-Natural Zar for Men men’s soap, a blend of goat’s milk, glycerin and sandalwood and orange essential oils. All the products are utilitarian and stress taking care of the skin, not strong colognes like some men’s lines. “This is for the other guy who wants a natural fragrance,” explained Ms. Voth.

Other Zar for Men men’s soap ingredients include moisturizing saponified 100% food grade olive, coconut, palm and castor oils with natural colorings.

Also, new for the holidays is a Frankinfetti Zum Bar soap. It infuses chunks of the company’s popular Frankincense & Myrrh soap with a base of patchouli and sandalwood.

Procter & Gamble’s Zest line added a Tropical Fresh variety to its Rainforest, Energy Rush, Whitewater Fresh and Aqua Pure soap bar collection. IRI reported Zest was the No. 4 brand in the deodorant bar soap category for the year ended Aug. 8. Sold in a three-pack, Zest Tropical Fresh is said to have a refreshing, tantalizing scent, and rinses easily and is less drying to the skin than regular soap.

Picturesque soap company Primal Elements is offering new vegetable glycerin soap bars this winter with such offerings as Bridge Mix, a melange of playing card suit symbols in a white bar with a cocoa, mint and clover scent, and Rudy, a reindeer flying above a tree-lined forest in a vanilla, citrus, floral and sandalwood blend. Other bar soaps include Hearts of Fire, T-Rex, Wedding Bells, Haunted House and Jingle Bells.

Dove Sinks the Competition in Liquid Soap
Unilever’s Dove liquid soap registers as No. 1 in branded liquid body soaps in the mass market for the year ended Aug. 8. All dollar figures are in millions.
Brand $ Sales % Change $ Share Unit Sales % Change
Dove 60.1 19.6 13.0 13.1 17.0
Olay Complete 31.6 7.4 6.8 6.1 8.4
Softsoap 24.5 19.5 5.3 6.7 23.9
Suave Naturals 23.6 -8.8 5.1 10.6 -5.8
St. Ives Swiss Formula 22.2 -13.8 4.8 8.0 -14.2
Caress 22.2 -25.3 4.8 5.6 -18.7
Lever 2000 21.2 -12.9 4.6 5.1 -6.6
Suave 20.5 12.5 4.4 9.5 18.7
Aveeno 17.2 28.1 3.7 2.8 26.0
Private Label 15.0 -9.0 3.3 5.4 -8.7
Category Total 463.3 0.6 100.0 126.6 2.6

Full of Body
There seems to be more variety in the soap category than anyone could have imagined a decade ago. Body washes have grown quite popular in recent years, especially with American women, according to Euromonitor’s Mr. Cobbins. Body washes and shower gel sales have risen from about 21% in the bathing category in 1999 to approximately 26% today, causing bar soaps sales to decline. This is largely due to the innovative nature of body washes, which offer a wider array of fragrance options and ingredients that purport to moisturize, exfoliate and nourish skin, Euromonitor researchers found.

“Moreover, these products reinforce bathing as an opportunity for relaxation and reinvigoration, encouraging some consumers to purchase a wider variety of bath products and enabling manufacturers to offer value-added products at higher price points,” Mr. Cobbins asserted.

St. Ives’ Aroma Steam body washes release fragrance in shower steam.

St. Ives Aroma Steam, the latest introduction from Alberto-Culver, is a body wash that works with the steam of the shower to release aromatherapeutic fragrances. St. Ives is the No. 5 liquid body soap with annual sales of $22.2 million, according to IRI. Aroma Steam retails in four formulas: Refreshing with crisp aloe extract and small moisturizing beads; Renewing with nourishing almond and sweet cream; Calming with soothing chamomile and lavender and Energizing with citrus, golden honey and exfoliating beads.

Executives said the advanced cleansing system delivers the three benefits that consumers seek in body washes: lathering, moisturizing and scented formulas. A 12-oz. bottle retails for $3.49.

Demeter Fragrance Library launched three new variants in a shower gel format.

Demeter Fragrance Library, an “eccentric” division of Freedom Marketing Group, is known for its experiential scents such Dirt. Now, the company is continuing down its path with the new Pomegranate, Banana Flambee and Bubble Gum fragrances. They will be offered in Lots-of-Uses Happily Foaming bath & shower gels with vacuum-less pumps, as well as soap bars, cologne sprays and lotions.

“These fragrances are a combination of comfort and sweetness and fruitiness,” commented Christopher Gable, co-founder of Demeter Fragrance Library. “People love things that take them back to a particular moment in life. This has always been something that has worked for us.”

Executives said the decision to add the Lots-of-Uses bath & shower gels to the company’s more than 160 fragrances last year was due to their varied uses, such as showers, baths and even hand washing clothing. However, Mr. Gable said bar soaps will always have a following. “Bar soaps don’t seem to be as big a category for fragrance delivery,” Mr. Gable said. “But we do offer soap bars because of the gifts market. They work in some retail environments, but not every one.”

Herban Renewal, Abilene, TX, recently revamped its bath and body products with a redesigned logo in herb green on cream-colored tags and labels. Herban Renewal’s body washes and bubble baths are said to contain the finest vegetable oils, freshest herbs and purest sea salts. The scents are Lavender, First Rose, Love and From the Garden Mint.

New under Herban Renewal’s Latin-inspired Arelia line are the Calmar Body wash with aloe and Arriba! Mango body wash with vitamin E.

Essencia, Sheveport, LA, added the essential oil- and herb-infused Rosemary Mint and Fresh Citrus baths to its bath and hair care collection.

Clariant Masterbatches Matches Color and Quality
Want your body wash or shampoo to turn heads on crowded supermarket shelves? Consider a package that turns colors right be-fore the consumer’s eyes. Impossible? Not for Clariant Masterbatches.

“We are the most advanced color house in the world,” insisted Len Kulka, creative director of Clariant ColorWorks. “The fun is in developing new things that customers just didn’t think were possible.”

Creating a shift in color is possible when HBA marketers incorporate the Clariant Spectrachrome line of color shifting effects into their personal care packages.

Spectrachrome effects work on the basis of light refraction created by specially fabricated materials—such as laminated sheet, glass, liquid crystal and silica—incorporated into the surface of the container. These non-color elements work in combination with color to yield containers that flash different colors depending on the angle of view. The effect is especially dramatic in multi-layer containers because it can be modified by changing the base color (the middle of three layers) so that it acts as a light absorber or reflector depending on the shade selected.

Another breakthrough from Clariant is the addition of the Soft-Touch special effects to injection-molded products like caps and closures. According to the company, personal care product developers can now use the same effects in an expanded number of components.

Soft-Touch, Spectrachrome and a range of other effects are available in Clariant Masterbatches’ Enigma effects collection. The Enigma brand includes a wide range of effects glitter, interference, iridescence, luster, metallic and splash. To promote the Enigma concept, Clariant Master-batches has developed an 11-page binder, filled with 176 brilliant color chips for quick and easy reference for designers, specifiers and processors.

To help customers turn these unique Enigma-brand special effects into packaging can be complex, so the company created seven Clariant ColorWorks Design & Technology Centers to assist designers, marketing specialists and brand managers quickly get products from concept to store shelf. Working with Clariant experts, customers can quickly transform color concepts into exact formulations, color chips and/or prototypes, to resolve the technical issues of resin selection, additive compatibility and processing.

Clever Capsules
Several new body washes contain encapsulated technologies. Dove, the No. 1 liquid body soap, is harnessing the power of capsules in its Dove Massage body wash. Executives said the formula combines purple beads with a unique aromatherapy massage system and fragrant essential oils and white beads with Dove’s Active Moisture technology and emollients. Executives said the body wash refreshes, renews, relaxes, invigorates and pampers the mind and body.

P&G introduced the Olay Body scrub that contains natural loofah and exfoliating beads to wash away dry surface cells and retexturize the skin. Olay Complete is the No. 2 liquid body soap in the mass market with annual sales of $31.6 million, according to IRI.

A Provencial Decision
The Provence region of France as been the inspiration behind many bath and body lines due to the romantic area and its exquisite cuisine. Cosmeco International, Inc., New York, is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Val’Aurea, an aromatherapy line from Provence. The line offers three Marseilles liquid soaps with lavender, lemon and rosemary essential oils. Various vegetal soaps also contain nourishing ingredients such as lavender, karite (shea butter), vetyver and sweet almond oils. Two Val’Aurea aromatic shower gels include lime tea and lavender essential oils, in addition to an aromatic bubble bath with lavender.

Bath & Body Works (BBW) is extending the traditions of Provence with Le Couvent Des Minimes. This line of bath and body products, founded in 1862 by a convent of nuns, is crafted from the finest ingredients, according to company executives. The three collections, Soothing Lavender & Acacia, Nourishing Honey & Shea and Revitalizing Verbena & Lemon, will be sold in select BBW stores.

Also inspired by France, Yves Saint Laurent unveiled a new bath line under is Paris D’Yves Saint Laurent fragrance. It combines floral notes of centifolia rose, violet, orange blossom and sandalwood. In addition to a body creme and body lotion, the line includes the Gel de Rosee bath and shower gel. All products are dressed in pink to convey lightness and fun, or what executives call a joie de vivre.

For Men Only
Euromonitor research revealed that women are not the only buyers of body washes. Men are finding them convenient too, only they prefer different fragrances and a range of product forms.

“New body wash/shower gel products for men are often targeted to younger men, who tend to be more open to products that go well beyond basic upkeep,” insisted Mr. Cobbins. “They also frequently target physically active men seeking all-in-one products that can be used away from home, and prestige lines now offer men’s shower gels for both body and hair.”

Suave for Men, originally a hair care line, is expanding with Mountain Surge body wash in December. It is said to invigorate the senses with the fresh, icy cool scent of mountain air. Mountain Surge contains mild cleaning agents and joins existing body wash scents Active Sport and Refreshing.

A Liquifying Experience
As aforementioned, liquid soaps are growing within the bath category and may soon be on par with body washes. Euromonitor analysts said this has been largely due to an expansion of antibacterial products and a misplaced belief that such products protect against the spread of viral infections such as the flu.

“With the recently announced shortage of flu vaccine, sales may again witness a bump from germ-conscious consumers,” Mr. Cobbins suggested.

Dial has expanded its antibacterial portfolio with DailyCare, a series of 2 in 1 body washes and liquid hand soaps that contain antibacterial protection and skin caring ingredients. Dial holds the No. 2 spot in the liquid hand soap category with sales of $46.1 million for the year ended Aug. 8, IRI reported.

The varieties include moisturizing Vitamins, skin-soothing Lavender Oatmeal and hydrating Aloe. The body wash is also available in Gentle Exfoliant for Daily Use. All body washes retail in 12-, 18- and 24-oz. sizes.

Additionally, Dial’s DailyCare hand soap retails in Minerals, a moisturizing, germ-killing cleanser.

Indigo Wild has extended into liquids as well. The new Zum Wash consists of 95% organic oils such as olive, coconut and jojoba, as well as silk proteins. It retails in the best-selling Frankincense & Myrrh scent.

“Frankincense & Myrrh is our top-selling fragrance year-round,” insisted Indigo Wild’s Ms. Voth. “We don’t follow traditional blending rules; we blend with our intuition. We tweaked the scent until it was a perfect blend—it has a real smoothness but is still spicy. It’s like yin and yang.”

The liquid soap formula took two years to develop. Indigo Wild employees wanted to be able to create the products from scratch, even forgoing popular cocoa betaine coconut-derived surfactants, which Ms. Voth said are not entirely natural. “We basically wanted to take our bar soap recipe and make it liquid,” she explained.

Executives said the ultra-moisturizing Zum Wash formula does not contain synthetic preservatives, petroleum byproducts, sulfites, detergents or artificial coloring. Zum Wash retails for $13.50. The product has seen great success since its September introduction.

“The Zum bar has had such a following and consumers wanted to try another version,” Ms. Voth said. “People have been waiting for the Zum wash and we’ve had immediate sales. It’s practically selling itself.”

Ready for a Restage
After extensive consumer testing and research on fragrance trends, Colgate-Palmolive’s Softsoap, the No. 1 liquid hand soap and the No. 3 liquid body soap in the mass market according to IRI, introduced several body washes in July. The new Vanilla Brown Sugar, Morning Mist, Plumeria and Aroma Cream Comfort replace former variants such as Pure Milk, Vitamins, Rose & Aloe, Melon, Fruit Essentials Apple Blossom and Aromatherapy Anti-Stress. Executives said they also continue the brand’s heritage of experiential and moisturizing formulas. Colgate also revamped its graphics to make the line more consistent.

Similarly, Colgate-Palmolive added new options to its Softsoap liquid hand soap line with stronger antibacterial formulas, more appealing scents and stronger graphics. They include Morning Mist, Lavender & Chamomile, Milk and Rose and Vanilla Brown Sugar. These fragrances have phased out the Aromatherapy Energy and Anti-Stress, Fruit Essentials Apple Blossom and Vitamins varieties.

The Softsoap Rainforest series will also be updated with new ladybug and tiger three-dimensional inserts. Soft-soap 2 in 1 and Softsoap Naturals Milk & Honey graphics were updated too.

A Warm Cup of Cocoa
Nourishing formulas are also finding their way into the soap category. Origins is combining the moisturizing properties of Theobrama cacao (cocoa butter) with the essential oils of vanilla, ginger, lemon and orange in the Cocoa Therapy collection. Executives said cocoa contains various vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium and iron, which replenish the skin. Included in the line is the Cocoa Therapy Energy-Boosting body bar infused with vitamin E, cocoa butter and plant-derived cleansers to leave the skin comfortably clean, executives said. The line also includes a body butter, body treat, body scrub, elixir and two hot cocoa beverages.

But what’s cocoa without whipped cream? Primal Elements now offers the moisturizing Body Whip and Sugar Whip. These creamy, mousse-like bath-time products create luxurious lather and bath bubbles.

The Sugar Whip contains exfoliating pure cane sugar and retails in Sparkling Mist, Sunrise Sunset, Pineapple Punch, Cool Mint, Ruby Red and Vanilla scents. Body Whip is available in fragrances such as Lavender, Ariel (sandalwood and musk), Blue Monkey and Strawberry Swirl. Both retail in tubs and are also available in an unfragranced form.

You Can Kid with Me
Kids are also getting in on the action in the soap segment, especially the body wash sector. Suave is planning to expand its line of children’s body washes early next year in flavors such as Berry Burst (blue), Princess Strawberry (red) and Wild Watermelon (pink). These expand on the companies’ 2 in 1 shampoos and conditioners and feature multi-ethnic cartoon characters on the labels. Suave Naturals liquid soap was the No. 4 brand in the liquid body soap category for the year ended Aug. 8, according to IRI.

The New Definition Kids Hair & Body shampoo, new from Goldwell Cosmetics USA, is a gentle product infused with melon-cherry milk and wheat proteins to strengthen hair and enhance shine. The fruit-scented formula is mild enough for sensitive skin and eyes and does not contain artificial colors. A bitter additive also discourages consumption. An 8.4-oz. bottle with a toy lion retails for $10 in salons.

The Final Results
In the next year, it is likely that sales of liquids will grow rapidly. It is also possible that the new in-shower lotions will revolutionize the personal care industry and may affect the success of moisturizing body washes. Manufacturers can perform additional consumer testing, which will help to determine the future direction of the personal cleansing market.

Looking for a new ingredient to incorporate into your personal cleanser? A list of them starts on p. 76 in the print version of Happi.

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