Store Brands

APR 2016

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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Category Intelligence: Wet Wipes 7 8 Store Brands / April 2016 / Play up the positives Health worries are impacting sales, but a large and diverse user base is creating growth opportunities in the multi-faceted wet wipes market. By Rich Mitchell he wet wipes sector is experiencing a dry spell. Although wet wipes are con- venient, flexible and relatively inexpensive cleaning and sanitizing options, concerns about their safety and effectiveness are limiting activity in key shopper segments. Revenues for baby wipes, which consumers primarily use during diaper changes, grew from $1.3 billion in 2009 to $1.5 billion in 2014, reports Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm. Facial cleaning wipes, meanwhile, saw revenues increase from $245.2 million to $359.4 million from 2009 to 2014, while feminine (intimate) wipes saw sales fall from $47.5 million to $39 million. Health concerns are having a major impact on sales. Many aestheticians and dermatologists, for instant, state that facial cleaning wipes are inadequate in treating skin in comparison to rinsing and exfoliation, Euromonitor notes in its March 2015 "Wipes in the US" report. "Opponents of the product say that these wipes simply smear dirt and bacteria around the face and provide the 'clean feeling' through fast-evaporating al- cohol, which in fact dries out the skin," Euromonitor states. "However, the product has been called 'ad- dictive' in its ease and convenience, and warnings in the press may not deter women who have already integrated the product into their beauty routines." Feminine wipes also are facing opposition. Some gynecologists say the products, which are meant to eliminate odor and "freshen" a woman's genital area, are potentially disruptive to the natural pH of a woman's body, Euromonitor notes. Such disruptions can reportedly lead to yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, conditions which cause the type of vaginal odor that feminine wipes are designed to stop or mask. "Feminists claim the producers of feminine wipes create a category for the product by first manufacturing body shame and insecurity, then offering a product to fix the artificial problem which has been created," Euromonitor reports. "Warnings from gynecologists and health professions, as well as negative trade press, are driving the category for feminine wipes further down." Listen to the consumer Despite such issues, many shoppers still favor wet wipes, in part because the products are convenient and relatively inexpensive. Euromonitor notes that personal wipes average 5 cents per sheet, an amount that has been fairly consistent over the last decade. Many elementary schools, meanwhile, are adding general-purpose and all-purpose wipes to students' supply lists in an effort to maintain cleaner hands and classrooms, curb absences and maintain a healthier student population, Euromonitor states. In addition, healthcare professionals advocate using disinfecting wipes in the workplace to reduce the spread of germs, and supermarkets also are keeping wipes in the limelight by dispensing general-purpose products that enable customers to wipe down shopping carts. Despite the health issues, a large segment of consumers and businesses is embracing wet wipes, and ample opportunities for category expan- sion remain — particularly if retailers and suppliers respond to the interests of specific shopper segments. An expanding base of shop- pers, for instance, is seeking environmentally friendly or "green" selections. Such products might consist of natural ingredients; be Do consider consumers' desire for "greener" wet wipe formulations. Don't miss the opportunity to promote store brand wet wipes via sampling or couponing.

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