The category has started to pick up after static value sales between 2012 and 2017, reflecting its maturity and size as the third biggest market behind Latin America and North America. In 2018, the largest country, Germany, registered sales of $1.1 billion, followed closely by the UK at $1.0 billion and both have grown faster than the average at 7.7% and 5.6%, respectively. In Eastern Europe, the deodorants category is worth $1.5 billion and Russia is the largest market, valued at $500 million.
According to Euromonitor, the popularity of different deodorant formats varies country to country. Scandinavian consumers, for example, prefer roll-ons, while sprays remain the leading product format in top Western European markets, though maybe not for long. In most of the leading markets, roll-ons are catching on thanks to their convenience and on-the-go format. Meanwhile, sprays are dropping out of favor as consumers seek “cleaner” ingredient lists, such as free from alcohol and alcohol. And healthier lifestyles are behind the declining popularity of spray formats as Europeans increasingly pay more attention to ingredients in their path to purchase.
Overall, functional claims and scents drive deodorant NPD, according to Mintel research. Long-lasting claims were present in 77% of European deodorant launches in the year to April 2019, and the antiperspirant claim was evident in 45% of new deodorant products. Noteworthy is the fact that 96% of European launches feature scent.
“Brands can be more imaginative with fragrance in order to bring excitement,” noted Rosalia Di Gesu, senior innovation analyst, Mintel, who said that brands should offer more customizable concepts and be inspired by the Sea Breeze Mix Flavor sheet and deo water launch in Japan, or promote mood enhancing or health/wellness benefits associated with scent.
“They can also play with color as a way to bring more sensorial elements into the mix,” she added, referencing Nivea’s bi-phase roll-on deodorant launch in India.
Concern over chemicals in beauty and personal care products is causing consumers to turn to natural and organic formulations which are perceived as being better for health, skin and the environment.
“Organic, vegan and eco claims are among the fastest growing claims in the European deodorants market,” discloses Di Gesu. “NPD is rising as brands tap into eco, natural and waste-minimizing trends and offer more choice.”
For example, 12% of European deodorant launches in the year ending April 2019 made a vegan claim (up from 3% five years ago); 17% made an eco-friendly claim (versus 11% five years ago), 15% a recycling claim (versus 9%) and 10% an organic claim (versus 5%).
Mintel has noted that stick deodorant innovations are tapping into sustainability and plastic-waste concerns. In order to go packaging free, Energy Balance Biork Potassium Crystal Deo Stick (Netherlands) uses cork as its case, a material that is renewable and easy to recycle. Lamazuna Solid Deodorant (France) is presented in an outer board box with no other packaging in an effort to be eco-friendly. It is also handmade, vegan, free from aluminum salt and made with organic palmarossa essential oil.
Cream deodorants are turning to glass and metal packs as an alternative to plastics, such as The Awake Organics Aura Clean Deodorant Balm (UK), which comes in a glass jar with an eco-spatula. Another is Lekker Ineenpotje Natural Deodorant (Netherlands) which is packaged in a metal case with screw lid. “Given the heightened media attention on plastic waste, brands must look to more sustainable alternatives such as recyclable card, cork, bamboo or even wax casings, as seen with Lush cosmetics. Brands can also explore NPD opportunities for reusable glass or metal containers or refillable concepts,” maintains di Gesu.
UK personal care brand Sam Farmer is making waves by challenging the way that gender segregation and sexual stereotyping has been used to sell deodorants to young adults. Owner Sam Farmer has spoken to teens who told him that this approach was predictable and irrelevant.
“As a small brand, the reach and influence we have is limited but the message struck a chord. The conversation has had a huge impact on the market and even the global brand leaders have attempted to alter their traditional message,” he states.
However, Farmer has observed the recent mixed reaction to the Gillette “the best men can be” advert and the change in direction for Lynx, saying, “It’s more of a reluctant and half-hearted move away from the traditional message. It’s difficult for them because the stereotypes they are attempting to challenge are exactly those created by them in the first place.”
Meanwhile, the Sam Farmer brand is gaining ground outside the UK and is shipping to Ireland and with Amazon, with plans to venture into Italy, Germany, France and Spain later in 2019.
Di Gesu says that deodorant brands can add excitement by looking outside the category for NPD inspiration and suggests duo concepts in sun care and fragrance markets can be transferred to stick deodorants, and dual chamber packs can move into liquid deodorants.
“Deodorants can also blur with skin care and promote hydration, pollution protection or delaying the growth of unwanted hair,” she added.
Changes in the deodorant category will come from a shift in consumer attitudes with regard to gender positioning and a more informed attitude toward sustainability and waste.
Above all, deodorant formulations need to tick the efficacy box and be transparent in their messaging if they are to win over skeptical consumers.
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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.