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Natural, therapeutic help boost bath

BY DSN STAFF

After years of lukewarm growth, the bath category is heating up. While it may not return to the go-go years of the 1990s when retailers created specialty shops within their stores, the sales spike helps offset soft fragrance sales.

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

Sales of bath products, according to IRI for the 52-week period ended Nov. 1, 2015, in mass outlets, rose 5.3% to $165 million. Scrubbers and massager sales were up almost 2%, and liquid body wash was up 5%.

Four major trends are emerging in the category: the growth of therapeutic items, rising demand for natural lines, more interest in licensed kids’ items and products fusing skin and bath.

The fact that Dr. Teal’s is the No. 1 seller in overall bath is a testament to the power of therapeutic choices. These products are especially important to drug chains where the healthcare image and presence of the pharmacist results in higher sales than other outlets, buyers said. Drug commands about 15% of bath category sales, which could be stretched further with the demand for therapeutic bath.

A drive for more natural ingredients propelled sales of The Honest Co. The brand, which is limited to a handful of mass doors produced growth of 145% for the tracked period. Village Naturals also benefitted from consumer interest in “good for you” bath ingredients as its sales jumped 23%. Ecotools saw a 53% spike in sales as consumers moved to environmentally friendly accessories, too.

Kids’ bath products got a jolt in the arm from the popularity of licensed characters, especially the rebirth of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which achieved sales gains of 91% in bath.

The bath also is doing double duty as evidenced by the rapid acceptance of Beiersdorf’s Nivea Shower Body Lotion. Used in the shower, the product also acts as a body moisturizer.

The next big sales spurt could come from a “retro” trend bringing back aromatherapy. “We are seeing demand for oils and other products like that,” said Diana Dolling-Ross, executive director at NYCO Chemists, which operates drug stores in Brooklyn and Long Island.

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Elizabeth Arden shakes up fragrance

BY DSN STAFF

MIRAMAR, Fla. — “Body sprays from Elizabeth Arden have been our biggest success story,” one retailer commented when recapping the year in fragrance. The mists offer lighter versions of Arden’s popular nameplates. Among the briskest sellers are Ed Hardy Women, Nicki Minaj Minajesty Women and Enchanted Wonderstruck Taylor Swift for women. Price tags are under $10.

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

Arden entered the mist business last year, adding to some already solid performing spray entries, such as Body Fantasies. With the spirit of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” Arden brought out the line, which was quickly embraced by shoppers. In particular, buyers think younger customers who don’t want to pay higher tickets at specialty stores embraced the concept. Men especially like the lighter composition of the mists.

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Body sprays, scents refresh fragrances

BY DSN STAFF

Holiday 2015 further illustrated the challenges that mass retailers face in trying to revive the fragrance business. A survey of top retailers found scents sold “OK,” but required a great deal of promotion.

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

Compounding that was the race among retailers to tempt shoppers with the best percentage-off deals. Several teamed up their offers with special discounts for loyalty club members. Walgreens, for example, offered a buy-one/get-one deal on designer scents, such as Curve, with its card.

Exacerbating the issue was the lack of many new fragrances available to drug and discount chains. Two big launches, Ari by Ariana Grande and Gucci Bamboo, are not accessible on a direct basis to mass.

There are bright spots, however. Body sprays and mini designer scents were popular not only during the holidays, but leading up to December, too. With reasonable price points, these two categories appear to be the salvation for mass retailers in the fragrance business.

IRI data for the 52-week period ended Oct. 4, 2015, across multi-outlets revealed that men’s body mists soared 45%, while women’s were up almost 20%. Contrast that to the continuing decline in traditional fragrances, and the picture is clear that this is what the mass shopper wants now. Men’s fragrance was down 2.4%; women’s was off 7.4%.

All seven of the top men’s fragrances showed declines. The only men’s traditional scents with big gains, according to IRI data, are Nautica Blue and Adidas Sports Sensation. The picture in women’s is also bleak with the exception of fairly new to mass entries, such as Our Moment One Direction (up over 400%) and Killer Queen by Katy Perry (soaring 800%).

Interestingly, private-label scents are another growth area with sales rising 200%. These are custom fragrances, such as Walgreens InStyle or CVS’ Perfect Scents, which are versions of prestige fragrances at good values.

The body sprays boom is welcomed at mass top women’s brands, according to IRI, include Body Fantasies Signature, Bodycology, Calgon and Axe Anarchy. In men’s, the top four are dominated by Axe entries. But Old Spice is catching fire with sales gains exceeding 200%.

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