Online Exclusives

Steady Gains in AP/Deo Sales

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | January 11, 2011

Marketers ride out downturn without breaking a sweat.

Regardless if the economy is mired in recession or soaring to new heights, the antiperspirant and deodorant category doesn’t seem to sweat it. Year and year out, the segment manages to add about 3% in sales, roughly matching the population growth in the U.S.

That was the story for the year ended Oct. 31, 2010, too. According to data from SymphonyIRIGroup, a Chicago-based market research firm, AP/deo sales rose 2.74% to $1.27 billion in food, drug and mass merchandisers, but that total does not include sales at Walmart, club stores or gas/c-stores.

Thanks to the irreverent TV and internet spots featuring former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa, Old Spice High Endurance is the best-selling AP/deo in the U.S., with sales of $67.8 million. During the year, High Endurance’s sales rose nearly 4% to top Secret, another P&G brand, which had sales of $66.6 million, a gain of 1.82%.

The popularity of Old Spice began to grow in February 2010, when Mustafa became the brand’s pitchman with monologues such as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” and other humorous monologues. Thanks to YouTube, Mustafa’s career grew after a series of humorous Old Spice videos that were based on questions the public asked him on websites such as Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. Altogether there are nearly 40 varieties of Old Spice antiperspirants, not to mention 14 Old Spice High Endurance deodorants.

Following Secret, another P&G brand, here’s a look at the other leading AP/deos in the U.S.

Degree Men$60.5 million Secret Clinical Strength$55.4 million Old Spice Red Zone$52.7 million Axe Dry$47.9 million Mennen Speed Stick$46.0 million Secret Scent Expressions$38.2 million Ban$37.2 million Dove$34.4 million Right Guard Sport 3D$33.5 million Suave$28.6 million Degree Women$28.3 million Gillette$28.1 million Secret Flawless$22.7 million Axe Fresh$18.4 million Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry$18.3 million Sure$17.0 million Secret Flawless Clear$16.4 million Arrid Extra Extra Dry$16.1 million

All of these brands cracked the Top 20, but some performed much better than others, according to SymphonyIRI. For example, sales of Degree Men rose more than 16%,Secret Clinical Strength increased 11% and Suave’s sales improved more than 10%. However, those gains pale in comparison to Secret Scent Expression (+61.85%), Right Guard Sport 3D (+89.78%), Gillette (+113.74) and Secret Flawless Clear (+66.98%). Even Axe, a brand whose popularity has slipped in recent years, posted a nearly 30% gain in sales.

At the other end of the spectrum are poor-performing brands such as Old Spice Red Zone (-10.67%), Dove (-11.32%), Secret Flawless (-10.50%), Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry (-14.22%), Sure (-35.36%) and Arrid Extra Extra Dry (-10.73%).

Overall, unit sales in the AP/deo segment rose 1.7% to nearly 379 million units. The average price per unit was $3.35, an increase of $0.03, according to SymphonyIRI—which just goes to show you that cash-strapped consumers are still willing to pay more for some HBA products.

What’s New?

Last month, Swanson Health Products, which has offered discounted vitamins, supplements, healthy foods and homeopathic remedies for more than 40 years, added Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal to its site, including fragrance-free and fragranced roll-ons, spray mists, foot sprays and solid crystals.

“Swanson Health Products is all about bringing wellness to the world andreaching millions of health-conscious people through its online retail portal,” said Ted Alflen, chief executive officer and founder of Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal. “Like them, our brand has strived for decades to bring health, wellness and a natural alternative to customers across the globe, and we are pleased to have our products showcased on this esteemed retailers’ site.”

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal’s all-natural ingredients provide 24-hour, non-staining hypoallergenic protection. It even feels like luxurious skin lotion—with a non-greasy, non-sticky formula.

Nearly a year ago, Colgate-Palmolive launched Speed Stick Stainguard and Lady Speed Stick Stainguard with Stain Defense technology, billed as a breakthrough line of antiperspirant deodorants formulated to help fight yellow stains and residue on clothes, while providing the 24 hour odor and wetness protection.

"In a recent study, consumers said that yellow armpit stains continue to be an issue for them” said Philip Durocher, general manager, U.S. personal care, Colgate-Palmolive.

According to Durocher, Stainguard line is “specifically formulated to help with the yellow armpit staining issue that men and women face, and provides a unique way to address one of the largest unmet consumer needs in the category.

As part of the launch, Speed Stick partnered with apparel company Hanes in which special packs of Hanes underwear T-shirts included a free trial of Speed Stick Stainguard.

"Many factors impact yellow staining, including the combination of sweat and antiperspirant ingredients that can create yellow stains. Stain Defense technology keeps more of the antiperspirant on your skin, helping to fight the appearance of yellow stains and white residue, noted Marie Johansson, personal care product development, global research and development, Colgate-Palmolive.

This year, Unilever is rolling out new and improved Suave formulas, with new products and a new look. The complete range is said to provide 24-hour effective odor and wetness protection and now the Suave 24-Hour Protection Invisible Sold line has a new formula that provides even stronger protection, according to the company.

In March, Suave will add new variants to 24-Hour Protection Invisible Solid in Cocoa Butter and Clinical Protection PROsolid in Wild Cherry Blossom.

And for the Kids…

As kids mature, they develop body odor—and they become less interested in taking their parents advice on matters ranging from friendships to hygiene. But until they hit those terrible teens, parents have great influence—and usually do the personal care shopping. That’s a point not lost at Unilever. To reach influential AP/deo customers—moms of tweens (8-12 years old)—Dove deodorant last Fall-Winter teamed up with author Rosalind Wiseman on her nationwide Girl World Tour. The tour brought together daughters and their moms for an evening of bonding with interactive discussions about confidence, friendships, sweat-inducing moments and common mother-daughter challenges.

During the two-hour workshops, Wiseman offered practical advice and tools to help set the foundation for open communication that is especially important as the daughters move from their tween to teen years and begin to face even more challenges and issues that could put a child's confidence at risk. While the topics were serious, she often used humor to help keep a low-key atmosphere. For example, at one sold-out stop in Ridgewood, NJ, girls had a great time when Wiseman asked moms to remain silent for one minute while their daughters showed them what they looked like when they were “freaking out.”

During the discussion in Ridgewood, Wiseman also took time out to thank the her sponsor. “Thanks to Dove and Unilever; they totally get it,” she said.

In connection with the Girl World Tour, Dove and Wiseman also created a special website—, which offers expert tips, tools, money-saving offers and real-life stories about how parents are communicating and transitioning their tweens into confident and self-reliant young adults. Plus, there’s plenty of advice on the site to help parents find the right deodorant for their children (boys and girls), from Dove’s go fresh line of AP/deos and sprays to Degree Girl, which comes in three varieties Friends Forever, Just Dance and Love.

The Girl World Tour was expected to reach more than 4,500 mother-daughter pairs. Tickets were approximately $40, which included Rosalind's books "Queen Bees & Wannabes" and her new tween novel "Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials," as well as a gift bag from Dove deodorant and Unilever's Don't Fret the Sweat campaign—all of which helped reinforce the brand's sponsorship of the tour, which wrapped on Dec. 7 in Miami.

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