Extra Strength

February 29, 2008

The latest antiperspirants and deodorants fight to the finish.

Extra Strength

The latest antiperspirants and deodorants fight to the finish.

Melissa Meisel
Associate Editor

A swarm of teenagers and mothers gravitated toward the Weleda booth at a recent “green spa” event. Spraying, sniffing and asking “does it really work?” the crowd grilled the Swiss organic body care company’s communications manager, Jennifer Barckley, about the three different deodorant selections on display. The scents in demand? Citrus, sage and wild rose.

Fragrance is just one feature of sought-after antiperspirant and deodorant (AP/Deo) products. “Scent alone is very important,” noted Ms. Barckley, communications, Weleda North America, Palisades, NY.  “Fragrance, as we know from perfumes, is very personal, as each scent evokes a feeling. This feeling is also linked to efficacy … and efficacy is the fundamental deal breaker for any consumer seeking a deodorant product.”

Sales of antiperspirants and deodorants rose 5% to $1.2 billion in U.S. supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers excluding Wal-Mart, according to an Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) report that ended Dec. 30, 2007. Degree topped the list at $124 million, followed by Secret Platinum at $92 million and Old Spice High Endurance at $67.4 million. A staple in daily grooming regimens for decades, today’s marketers are looking for new ways to expand the category.

Staple Purchases

According to a Euromonitor report,  “Deodorants in the U.S.,” published in June 2007, the total deodorant sector value rose by 5% in 2006. Despite being a staple in the U.S. consumer’s beauty routines, underarm care has grown as Unilever sought to challenge Procter & Gamble’s leadership with the introduction of Axe Body Spray in 2001 and the subsequent repositioning of the Dove brand.

For Spring 2008, Unilever is introducing the Axe Bullet, the first pocket-sized deodorant body spray for on-the-go use, as well as Proximity, a new line of all-over body “subtle” fragrances.

The market expansion of deodorant sprays appears to be slowing down, as the subsector grew by only 5% in 2006—its lowest rate in five years.
 The new Axe Spray.
One of the biggest rollouts for Spring 2008 is Henkel’s RGX Pure 50, a new variant of RGX Bodyspray with a fragrance developed with and endorsed by hip-hop artist 50 Cent.
While spray deodorants are showing signs of slowing down, stick deodorants fared fairly better by 6% in 2006, reports Euromonitor, as manufacturers leveraged brand differentiation to promote perceived value added features at higher price points to U.S. men and women.
According to international market research firm Euromonitor, consumers are increasingly defining themselves by the products that they use, which has allowed AP/Deo manufacturers to link their brands to the wants and needs of a specific consumer group and derive a higher profit from their products.
The year 2007 is expected to account for 39% of the total incremental growth between 2006 and 2011, with stick and spray deodorants leading category increases.

Essential Attributes

“Consumers are looking for a product that is easy to use, which translates into not messy, something that’s a mild formula, which means no burning or stinging, and has effective results,” says Dr. Diane Berson, a dermatologist based in New York, NY.
Long-lasting odor protection and a terrific scent are also essential, notes Tobias Gubitz, Right Guard senior brand manager, Dial Corporation, Scottsdale, AZ. “In the case of antiperspirants, consumers are also looking for all-day protection from wetness.”
Mr. Gubitz also tells Happi that his company sees “strong consumer loyalty to forms and their specific benefits (e.g. aerosol, gel, solid).”  Recently, there is also a growing demand for low-residue benefits.
He cites the new StealthSolid from Right Guard Xtreme as an example of a product that leaves no white residue nor yellow stains on clothing as it is the only completely transparent stick in the business.

Scents and Ingredients

Ingredients also play a role in the sale of an AP/Deo, according to Mr. Gubitz, if performance-enhancing with regards to one of the following attributes:
    •    Wetness protection (level of active ingredient)
    •    Odor protection (e.g. deodorizing ingredients or encapsulated fragrances)
    •    Skin caring properties (aloe, moisturizers, etc.)
Tom O’Brien, chief operating officer of Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, ME, points to specific consumer attitudes and needs to sway an AP/Deo sale. “Some folks want to avoid aluminum and will only use a deodorant. Others want to avoid alcohol, so they look for alcohol-free products. On the other end of the spectrum, some folks want active ingredients that soothe the skin.”  
 Weleda's deodorants are available in a range of fragrances.
For those with special dermatological deodorant needs, Tom’s of Maine is launching its sensitive care deodorants for Spring 2008 featuring the natural ingredient German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), which helps soothe irritated skin. According to the company, the fragrances of bay-lime and cucumber grapefruit were selected for the formulas for their low irritation and allergen potential.
Although fragrance is a strong factor in the purchase decision, linking benefits to scent (like lavender to relax or other aromatherapy concepts) are still more likely to be found in categories like body washes or lotions, where consumers have more traditionally sought these types of benefits, says Mr. Gubitz. However, a scent that appeals for all-day and then all-night wear is key, he adds: “In deodorant products, scents are built to last up to 24 hours, therefore consumers are primarily seeking a scent that they want to accompany them throughout the day.”
Dr. Berson disagrees, citing aromatherapy as a top trend in the AP/Deo category: “I think a lot of consumers love this type of thing, across all of their skin care products,” citing Ban Invisible Solid’s latest tropical fragrance release, Island Falls, as an example.

Tough Stuff

Clinical-level formulas are a fast-growing niche in the AP/Deo market, touting a way to smell fresh beyond the average antiperspirant without the need of a prescription.
“Regular antiperspirants/deodorants are effective in reducing normal levels of underarm sweat. However, some people may experience hyperhidrosis which is a medical condition otherwise known as excessive sweating,” notes Sam Chadha, marketing director, deodorants, Unilever, Chicago, IL. “Clinical strength formulas like Degree Women and Degree Men are for the consumers who benefit from that level of protection.”
 Right Guard Xtreme steps up to the challenge.
But with extra protection comes extra dollars. According to Anna Wang, senior consultant, Kline & Company, Little Falls, NJ, “Clinical products equals higher prices. Consumers are willing to pay these higher prices for products marketed as clinical or prescription strength. In fact, the market is shifting toward more premium deodorants in general.”
Ms. Wang cites Procter & Gamble’s Secret Clinical Strength, designed to be applied at bedtime, as a leader in the clinical deodorant market.  For Spring 2008, Secret is adding a new hypoallergenic formula to its collection of clinical strength products, which debuted last year.
According to the company, Secret provides the first prescription strength product with skin-soothing conditioners and is milder than other prescription strength products. It is the first antiperspirant to receive the Seal of Approval from the International Hyperhidrosis Society.       
Dial is also launching two MD-level formulas—Right Guard Professional Strength for men and Dry Idea Clinical for women. Both brands feature the maximum level of active ingredients (20%) allowed by FDA without a prescription. Another new product from Dial for 2008 is Soft & Dri Pulse Activated Protection, a formula that is said to offer 24-hour protection from “stress sweat and active sweat.”
“In 2008, we will continue to see the trend of clinical/professional strength products growing in the marketplace, expanding the super-premium area of the category,” says Mr. Gubitz.
Old Spice is also adapting to this rising trend. This season, P&G rolled out Old Spice Pro Strength, the latest addition to the brand's product portfolio. The new heavy duty AP/Deo is designed with heavy sweaters in mind and features triple-action technology.
“We know guys like to play hard, and developed Old Spice Pro Strength for guys that tend to sweat a little more,” said Carl Stealey, Old Spice associate marketing director.

Fresh and Green

The green trend has, of course, made an impact on the current AP/Deo market by way of options for the customer.
“Consumers are becoming more and more aware of what they put on their bodies and are insisting that these products be healthy and natural,” notes Jerry Rosenblatt, president, French Transit, Ltd, Burlingame, CA, manufacturer of Crystal Body Deodorant, an all-natural mineral salt deodorant stone. “They do not want products that contain aluminum chlorohydrate and parabens. They do not want products that will clog their pores as this is very unhealthy. Consumers are listening to health experts, such as doctors, when choosing what deodorant to use.”
Ms. Barckley of Weleda agrees with Mr. Rosenblatt: “Consumers who come to Weleda are looking for a healthy and safe alternative to generic deodorants and antiperspirants laden with aluminum salts, phalates and other chemical, potentially carcinogenic ingredients.  From our perspective, using a clean (free of harmful ingredients), natural product is not only about being healthy, it’s also about being happy.”
Dr. Berson sees the eco-friendly wave as more than just a passing fancy for many—hardcore naturals enthusiasts and average green dabblers alike: “Perhaps ingredients or products and packaging that are more green and environmentally friendly seem to be popular as a trend ... hopefully it sticks around and doesn’t turn into a fad.”

Degree Tops List  In Deodorant Sales

Helene Curtis’ Degree deodorant continues to be at the forefront of the $1.2 billion deodorant category, according to a report from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).  Here are the sales for the top 10 deodorant brands in food, drug and mass merchandisers for the year ended Dec. 30, 2007, excluding Wal-Mart stores. All dollar figures are in millions.

Vendor                                                $ Sales                % Change

Degree                                                124.5                    20.34
Secret Platinum                                    92.8                    13.01
Old Spice High Endurance                67.5                        3.91
Dove                                                        57.3                    (2.99)
Right Guard Sport                                   56.8                    (4.15)
Secret                                                        56.7                       (6.99)
Old Spice Red Zone                                55.4                        7.95
Mennen Speed Stick                                46.3                        (5.37)
Secret Clinical Strength                            42.6                            0
Ban                                                                41.3                    (1.67)
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