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Although personal care is a vast amalgamation of categories, most have seen sales increase, and almost all of the private label segments have seen increases.
Eye on the National Brands
Although private label sleeping aid tablets boast a 35 percent share, national brands are still plentiful. The top five leading national brands in the sleep category are: Unisom, ZzzQuil, Alteril, Mid Nite, and Nature Made. … P & G launched the new ZzzQuil product in June 2012 and has already reached $104.8 million in sales, according to IRI data.
The only exceptions here, according to data from IRI from 2012, are in the private label adult incontinence category, where sales decreased 3.28 percent (but are still a $427 million category), in the private label foot care devices category (still a $100 million category), and in private label douches and some of the private label baby needs segments.
The highest category growth was seen in sleeping remedies, where sales increased 40 percent overall. The private label categories were all up as well, with private label sleeping aid tablets up almost 6 percent to $125 million, with a respectable 35 percent share.
Of course, the flip side to sleeping medications tends to be the need for remedies to stay awake, and in that respect we see private label caffeine tablets/liquids up 30 percent to more than $19 million.
“This is the classic vicious cycle of sleep disruption,” said Laureen Schroeder, global director of health, beauty & baby, Daymon Worldwide. “Consumers are having difficulty sleeping, they are not getting enough rest to stay alert and focused during the day. Hence, they turn to caffeine and caffeine tablets.
“We see this trend in all ages, starting with college students. Again, the savvy shopper trusts the store brand caffeine tablets because they have already used store brand products in other OTC categories. A halo impact is evident in the entire OTC area.”
The halo impact might drive shoppers to try private label caffeine tablets/liquids, but with a less than 6 percent share in the category, private label products still have room to grow.
On the other hand, the sleep remedy category overall has been driven by recently launched national brand ZzzQuil. The OTC option claims to provide non-habit forming relief for occasional sleepiness.
“Private label sleep aids are showing strong sales due to the expansion of the soft gel dosage form,” said Andrea Boneillo, OTC category manager, PL Developments. “This dosage form has experienced unprecedented growth in the sleep aid category and can be directly attributed to the launch of the compare-to ZzzQuil product. P&G launched the ZzzQuil brand in the summer of 2012, and has already reached (more than $100 million) in sales.”
“From a global perspective, North America is a pioneering force in innovations both from national brand and store brand manufacturers related to global lifestyle-driven trends, such as beverage formats, on-the-go deliver systems or easier to swallow dosage forms like soft gels for both energy and calming products,” Schroeder said.
While soft gels have seen success, according to IRI data, private label sleeping aid liquids rose 109 percent, but only had $808,000 in sales. However, Schroeder said retailers could expect to see more private label liquids in the future.
“With the success of ZzzQuil Liquid – we will see the store brands build on this trend,”
So why should retailers jump to add private label sleep products to their lineups right away? American shoppers’ do-it-all lifestyles, especially seen in women today, are driving sales in both national and private brand sales. And it’s hard to imagine that will change anytime soon.
“According to Mintel, sleep disruption impacts a large portion of the population, with 71 percent regularly having trouble falling asleep and/or staying a sleep,” explained Schroeder. “Females report a higher level of sleep disruption than males, as they tend to be more impacted by issues of stress and anxiety. The level of stress with today’s 24/7 lifestyle is driving these numbers in the younger populations (25-34), while the aging population (55+) experiences sleep disruptions from increased use of medications, as well as the natural implications of aging.
“We have seen in various studies, that today’s savvy shoppers understand that store brand OTC products are FDA approved and are equal to or even better in terms of quality, efficacy and of course, value. Today’s consumers see that they can save on average 25 percent by buying store brand products. This is particularly true in more chronic conditions like sleeping disorders and pain management.
“Based on Homescan Brand Insights, we know that among the top selling sleep aid brands, store brands have the highest loyalty and repeat purchase rates.”
So how can retailers get shoppers to try their store brands in the first place?
“One marketing effort that has worked well for PLD is offering our Sleep Aids in a smaller trial sizes,” explained Boneillo. “This gives wary consumers, or at the very least, those that have been conditioned to only buy branded offerings, an incentive to try our private label product with little risk. We’ve seen our baseline business lift significantly as a result of this packaging/marketing effort.”
Private label baby needs have not fared as well as sleep remedies according to IRI data, with private label baby powder and petroleum jelly as the only categories seeing sales increases.
In 2012, total U.S retail sales for disposable baby products are $7.5 billion, which is nearly unchanged from the sales observed in 2007, according to Mintel’s “Disposable Baby Products - US - April 2013” report.
“The market has mainly experienced flat to declining sales since the onset of the recession due to parents having developed an economizing mindset, declining fertility and birth rates, and a struggling diapers and training pants segment,” it explained.
“The most important driver for the market is the number of babies that are being born each year in the U.S. Though some baby personal care products are used by adults in their personal care routines (i.e., baby powder and baby shampoo), the number of babies in the U.S. determines how strong the demand is for disposable baby products.”
Of course, private label baby wipes grew more than 12 percent, according to IRI data. Mintel’s report said the baby wipes and moist towelettes segment is the second largest after diapers (see the Paper/Plastic article in this issue for more on diapers), which commands 17 percent of the market share.
This segment grew by slightly less than 9 percent during the two-year review period, the highest sales increase of all of the product segments. This product form is also the most commonly purchased product among respondents in Mintel’s exclusive consumer research who have children three and under in their home.
In the foot care products category, IRI data shows private label foot care devices dipping 1.7 percent, while private label foot care/athlete’s foot medication rose almost 10 percent to more than $91 million.
“In the past, the trend amongst private label retailers was to provide a national brand equivalent product that compares to the leading brands in the category,” said Steve Corsun, president/owner, Premier Brands of America Inc. “Recently, Premier has stepped away from the ‘fast-follower’ mentality and has taken on a strategy of continuous innovation. As consumers have grown to put more trust in private label brands, it is imperative that retailers continue to engage the consumer by offering advanced and innovative products that provide not only value but quality.”
The rise in private label foot care/athlete’s foot medication sales further backs the growing trend of consumers to buy OTC healthcare products as a first line of medical defense.
“The rising costs of health care have begun a movement towards ‘preventative care’ amongst consumers,” Corsun said. “Instead of visiting a podiatrist for one’s foot care needs, today’s consumers are more inclined to first visit their local store shelves to solve minor conditions and ailments. By offering more targeted and condition specific products, private label retailers can not only meet the consumer’s needs but stay ahead of the curve in the healthcare segment.”
In the coming months, Corsun said shoppers could expect to find the company’s new Tri-balance Gel Insoles for Men and Women on shelves.
“These highly innovative insoles utilize the first ever plastic-gel cohesion technology to provide a three zone approach to comfort and support,” Corsun said.