Sales: $3.3 billion
Key Personnel: Itsuo Hama, president and chief executive officer.
Major Products: Oral care, skin care, beauty products, toiletries, fabric care, home care and household cleaners.
New Products: Systema Haguki Plus Toothpaste, Clinica Advantage Dental Rinse, Ban Sweat-Blocking Rollon, Between Zeitaku Care and Systema Arch Fit toothbrushes.
Comments: Last year, sales took off like a rocket, thanks to the successful completion of Lion’s V-1 Plan, which ended on Dec. 31, 2014. It’s the first portion of the company’s Vision 2020 plan, which is focused on four themes:
- Grow domestically;
- Expand internationally;
- Develop new business; and
- Enhance organizational learning.
Beauty care sales increased 7.5% as Lion made a concerted effort to convince consumers to trade up to foaming soap formats. Meanwhile the launch of Ban Sweat-Blocking roll-on proved to be a big hit with consumers as sales were 240% above plan.
Perhaps efforts to convert Japanese consumers to high-value products were most evident in fabric care, where the switch is on from powders to liquid concentrates. Lion also answered consumer demand for products that remove malodor from laundry. New Top Nanox contains a dual enzyme formula to break down proteins that cause odors. Similarly, the introduction of highly fragranced and deodorizing fabric softeners has proved to be a hit with consumers. Lion also noted that automatic dishwashing detergent is rising as the segment of Japanese households with dishwashing appliances topped 30%. With market leading brand Charmy, Lion is well positioned take advantage of this trend.
Outside Japan, the company continues to make inroads in Thailand, South Korea, China and the Philippines, helped along by market share gains and favorable exchange rates.
But things didn’t flow as smoothly as Lion kicked off the V-2 portion of its Vision 2020 plan. For the first quarter of 2015, sales fell more than 7%, with consumer product sales falling more than 14% and sales of fabric care products plunging 27%.