Major shift to private-label personal care purchases noted in new survey
DALLAS — In the first half of 2010, consumers continued to shift to less-expensive private-label products in all categories, including the personal care and baby care segments, according to a recent survey by Epsilon Targeting, a provider of consumer information for targeted marketing solutions.
According to the August survey by Epsilon Targeting, an increasing number of consumers switched to store-brand products in the previous six months. In fact, 61% said they switched to private-label personal care products, including shampoo and facial moisturizers, while almost 18% of the respondents said they moved to private-label baby goods, including baby shampoo. These categories historically have a higher perceived cost of switching because consumers believed they are sacrificing on quality, according to Epsilon Targeting.
The brand shift is a marked increase over Epsilon Targeting’s last survey, in May 2009, when 51% of respondents said they purchased private-label personal care products, and 13% bought baby items.
The gain by store brands in the personal care category is especially noteworthy because consumers tend to be more loyal to national brand shampoos, facial moisturizers and other "appearance" products, according to Epsilon Targeting. For instance, 37% of respondents said they moved to private-label shampoo and conditioner in the past six months, based on Epsilon Targeting’s research. Traditionally, this is a small category for store brands — less than 3% of all shampoos and 1% of conditioners purchased at supermarkets in the third quarter were store brands, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association, through The Nielsen Co. Among drug store shoppers, the figures were 5% and 4%, respectively.
Epsilon Targeting’s findings are supported by PLMA data that showed unit sales of store-brand shampoos and conditioners did rise in the third quarter, by almost 71% and 13%, respectively, at drug stores alone.
Still, national brands linger in the minds of shoppers, as indicated by the research. At least 45% of respondents said they would definitely purchase their usual label of personal care, food or household products again if they had a coupon. More than 44% said they would buy their usual brand of health products.
"This is an opportunity for national brands to turn to their vast resources and find new ways to engage their customers one-to-one," stated Epsilon Targeting VP Warren Storey. "National brands have the ability to leverage rich data in new ways, across all communication channels from direct mail to mobile. The information is there — where their shoppers buy, when and how they respond to promotions. As the economy returns, national brands must leverage this intelligence and apply it to pricing, product placement and special offers. Marketers must leverage this data to identify and provide incentives, such as coupons and samples, to consumers who would switch back."
EvoraPlus gains distribution at Winn-Dixie
TAMPA, Fla. — Biopharmaceutical company Oragenics has expanded retail distribution of its oral care probiotic EvoraPlus through an agreement with Winn-Dixie Stores. EvoraPlus will be sold in select Winn-Dixie locations, beginning in January 2011.
ProBiora3, the active ingredient in Oragenics’ probiotic products, is designed to naturally support gum and tooth health while freshening breath and whitening teeth. Oragenics’ chief scientific officer, Jeffrey Hillman, developed ProBiora3 technology during more than 25 years of research, which began at the Harvard-affiliated Forsyth Institute in Boston and continued at the University of Florida. This technology only recently has become available to the general public.
ProBiora3 contains three strains of beneficial bacteria that promise to help maintain a healthy microbial balance in the mouth. It is 100% natural and is made in the United States in an FDA-registered and GMP-certified facility, the company stated.
Energizer leveraging acquisition, product launches to win with retailers
ST. LOUIS — It was announced in October that Energizer Holdings emerged as the winning bidder for American Safety Razor in bankruptcy court proceedings, inking a deal to buy substantially all of ASR’s assets. To top it off, Energizer earlier this year won—ironically from ASR—the entry price point/disposable wet-shaving business at Walmart. In light of these developments, at least one industry observer believed that Energizer is poised for significant growth opportunities.
“Over the past six weeks, Energizer launched/restaged a new three-bladed shaving system under the Wilkinson-Sword banner. The products, Tech 3 for men and Oasis for women, are complete shaving systems with a $5 price point for the handle and $5 for a four pack of blade replacements. This represents a 35% discount to Energizer’s new Hydro 5-blade handle, a 50% discount to the new Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide handle, and a 55% and 70% per blade discount, respectively,” stated SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst William Chappell.
While the shave market carries high brand loyalty, the price points could be an attractive trade-up opportunity for traditional disposable users.
“If the launch does prove successful, we believe that Energizer can leverage this strategy to win new business with other retailers. This is only speculation, but we believe it could be why the company was interested in buying the American Safety assets,” Chappell stated.