With an ear to changing consumer habits, Unilever is expanding the forms of several of its deodorants and antiperspirants.
Based on its research, Unilever uncovered that 46 percent of people are applying their deodorant multiple times every day. In fact, on average they are freshening up 2.3 times per day.
Responding to new usage patterns, Unilever will introduce Deodorant Wipes across six brands — Degree Women, Degree Men, Dove, Dove Men+Care, Axe, and Love Beauty and Planet. The wipes offers 24-hour protection and the Dove and Dove+Men Wipes contain glycerin for added moisturizing benefits.
With the exception of Love Beauty and Planet, the new Deodorant Wipes start shipping in January. Love Beauty and Planet will follow in the summer.
For those who prefer antiperspirants, the company recently launched Dry Spray Antiperspirant Deodorants by Degree Women, Degree Men, Dove and Dove Men+Care in a mini 1-oz. size.
It seems the wellness movement has even trickled down to odor protection, especially as more people hit the gym or pursue outdoor activities. “People are on the go. They go to the gym, they travel, or they are doing things like hiking where they don’t have access to water,” said Dawn Hedgepeth, general manager and vice president of Unilever Deodorants, Men's Grooming and Hand and Body Lotion. “We are offering solutions to meet every moment of the day.”
The wipes and the smaller sized antiperspirants are all travel friendly, Hedgepeth said. While not replacing traditional deodorants or antiperspirants, the new forms provide ways to freshen up during the day.
Hedgepeth said she expects consumers will keep a stash in multiple locations such as glove compartments, gym lockers and at work. “The wipes offer a way to stay fresh on the go and at home,” she said. They can be applied on the neck and other areas beyond traditional deodorant uses.
For retailers, new forms represent an avenue to build incremental sales in a $3 billion-plus category that is expanding. According to IRI, sales rose 3 percent during 2018 after a few years of flat growth. Dove is the top-selling brand in mass stores, according to IRI. Interestingly, Unilever research reveals people use more than one brand on a weekly basis. Retailers credit some of the odor protection growth to consumers using fewer colognes and emphasizing body care.
The deodorant and antiperspirant category faces new competitors often independents, looking to grab even just a slice of sales — a trend seen across most health and beauty businesses in the mass market. In deodorants, there is a slew of natural brands and lines ath-leisure lines that include wipes. This move along with Unilever's purchase of Schmidt’s Naturals last year suggests Unilever plans to keep up with market demands via acquisition and homegrown innovation.
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