Europeans Don’t Sweat the AP/Deo Market

By Imogen Matthews, Consultant | July 10, 2013

The majority of Europeans regard the use of a deodorant or antiperspirant as a necessary part of their personal hygiene routine, leaving manufacturers little room to drive volume growth in this mature market.

However, demographic factors, such as gender and age, are emerging as key product development input for deodorant manufacturers, not only in Europe, but around the world as well.

Deodorant sales in Europe reached $6.7 billion in 2012, which represented 1.8 billion units, according to Datamonitor. The largest market was Germany, valued at nearly $1.1 billion and growing 2% a year. France and the UK have similar markets at $968.2 million and $949.3 million, respectively, each growing in excess of 3% a year. Italy and Spain are the smallest of the Big 5, weighing in at $598.3 million and $518.7 million apiece, with negligible growth, reflecting their weak economies.

Product Sector Variations
Kantar Worldpanel usage shows that across Europe, more women use more deodorant than men. Italian men appear to be the most averse, using deodorant less frequently than any other European country. According to Kantar’s research, Italian men are the least concerned with preventing odor. Only in Russia and Spain do men use deodorants more often in a week than women.

Aerosols are more popular than roll-on and stick formats in all European countries, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Aerosols are used by 50% of European men and women; roll-ons by 27% and sticks by 13%.

Once again, it is in Russia and Spain where usage varies significantly: 18% of Russians prefer to use deodorant sticks, while 37% of Spaniards choose roll-on as their preferred format.

Low Experimentation
New research published by Datamonitor Consumer Insights shows that deodorants are still a commodity purchase guided by trust and familiarity.

“Consumers are generally less concerned about the aesthetics of deodorant products and more focused on buying a brand they know delivers results. For this reason, purchasing behaviors in the deodorants category tend to be heavily guided by routine and familiarity,” explained Michaela Peck, analyst, Datamonitor. A worrying fact for manufacturers is that 45% of global consumers admit that they don’t notice new deodorant products launched onto the market.

“Encouraging consumer experimentation in the deodorants category by creating stand-out at the point of sale should therefore be a key priority for brands,” maintained Peck.

Recent Mintel research confirms that deodorant is a market where experimentation is difficult. Referencing the UK market in particular, Mintel discovered that approximately a quarter of adults (24%) like to experiment with different fragrances, yet the shopping experience does not currently encourage experimentation.  As Roshida Khanom, beauty and personal care analyst, Mintel, suggests, “Greater engagement at the point of shopping can be achieved by enabling consumers to test products at the point of browsing (similar to the fragrances aisle), or by making products more ‘fun’ to own; such as using innovative packaging.”

Product Innovations
According to a consumer study carried out by Nivea, stress is the second most common trigger for sweating and is very different from the sweat produced by heat or physical exercise.

It has a more rapid onset and smells much worse, making it harder to control. Nivea’s new Stress Protect deodorant claims to tackle stress-induced, as well as thermal, sweating, using an antibacterial formulation containing a zinc complex, said to work together to provide protection in stressful situations.

“By taking a scientific approach to product personalization, Nivea has developed a more effective deodorant and in turn conveyed superior product value,” said Datamonitor’s Peck.

Other recent anti-stress deodorant launches on the European market include Garnier Mineral InvisMax antiperspirant deodorant spray, claiming 48-hour protection during heat, sport and stress; Ombia Bodycare Anti Stress Deodorant Roll-On also offers 48 hour protection, according to Mintel GNPD.

In terms of packaging, sustainability is becoming an important consideration, especially within the aerosol category, known for its large formats, which are difficult to recycle. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, set out in 2010, is committed to a 10-year journey toward sustainable growth.

In a game-changing move for the category, Unilever UK has introduced a compressed packaging format across its portfolio of female aerosol deodorants, including Sure Women, Dove and Vaseline. The compressed pack is half the size of traditional aerosol deodorants and contains half the gas volume, down from 150ml to 75ml, using 28% less packaging. As they use less propellant, the spray feels a little softer, less cold and drier when applied. A major benefit to retailers is that the packs take up less shelf space and less storage space at the back of the store.

Datamonitor research confirms that European consumers are becoming keener on using deodorants that contain only natural ingredients, although many come with a higher price tag. In March, Unilever launched a natural line under the Dove Natural Touch brand. It uses Dead Sea mineral extracts with packaging that features an green cap in a nod to the natural origins of ingredients. Garnier’s Mineral InvisiMax Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray contains a natural absorbent mineral from volcanic origin, which is said to allow the skin to breathe. 

Future Trends
In a bid to create new opportunities within a mature market, European manufacturers will segment their product propositions.
“Hyper-personalization will be the prevalent trend in the deodorants category moving forwards,” maintained Peck. “Not only tailoring product formulations and scents to consumer demographics  (male and female, teens and tweens), but also targeting specific consumer lifestyles and associated personal hygiene needs.”

Mintel’s Khanom regards older age groups as the key to future growth, despite their lower usage of deodorants compared to their younger counterparts.

“Older people are still concerned with their appearance, so there is potential for the market to respond to this desire.”

Mintel also sees potential for the deodorant market to link with other categories, such as laundry products, as 87% of deodorant users show an interest in products that keep their clothes dry from sweat.

Could a combined deodorant and laundry brand provide a new twist on consumers’ approach to personal hygiene in the future?

Imogen Matthews
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: +44 1865 764918

Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.
  • Supply-Side Innovations

    Supply-Side Innovations

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    Raw material suppliers roll up their sleeves and roll out their new products for the global cleaning industry.

  • New Faces in Familiar Places

    New Faces in Familiar Places

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    The American Cleaning Institute officially welcomed its new president.

  • Special Delivery

    Special Delivery

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    UV protection is important, but what good is that sunscreen if consumers won’t apply it?