In developed markets like the U.S., personal wipes accounted for a 14% value share of total retail disposable hygiene products sales in 2014. In Brazil, on the other hand, personal care wipes accounted for a 7% value share in the same year, while home care wipes sales remained a niche category. Nonetheless, while still small in actual value, personal wipes in Brazil has recorded double-digit growth during the past few years, rising by 12% CAGR in constant U.S. dollar value compared to 2009-2014. This compares favorably with only 1% CAGR pulled in over the same time by a far more mature wipes category in the U.S.
Increased power of the middle class consumer as well as continuing product development efforts have created a good platform for category growth in the country. At the same time, however, high product prices present an obstacle to wider consumer adoption and market penetration.
Innovation and price sensitivity shape up the marketplace
In 2014, baby wipes accounted for the lion’s share of the personal wipes retail sales in the country. In fact, Brazil is one of the few developing markets (along with Mexico) with a sizeable baby wipes category. However, at $311 million in retail sales in 2014, the category’s value is still low compared to the money spent on nappies/diapers/pants. In 2014, Brazil’s spending on baby wipes was around 13% of its total spending on nappies/diapers/pants, compared with 26% in the U.S. and 35% in the U.K.
Baby wipes are complementary to diapers, and diaper manufacturers tend to have wipes in their portfolio to build brand loyalty the across baby care regiment. Furthermore, the industry continues to invest into more sophisticated products to attract parents’ attention and drive demand. Recent new launches in Brazil’s baby wipes market included Pampers Sensitive as well as a widening range of baby wipes by Johnson & Johnson—from those suitable for newborns to wipes with calming aromas and moisturizing properties. The Brazilian market also attracted product manufacturers like the France-based Laboratoires Expanscience, makers of the higher priced dermatological brand Mustela which carries a range of products to cleanse baby’s face and body as well as products used during diaper changing.
While active product development certainly supports the increased use of baby wipes, their relatively affordable prices also play a role in wider consumer acceptance.
Falling significantly behind baby wipes in actual value sales, at $21 million in 2014, are cosmetics wipes, which in Brazil consist mainly of facial cleansing wipes. These products typically target women from middle-upper classes with higher disposable incomes while the overall market penetration remains low. In 2014 the category growth had been far less impressive compared to baby wipes. High price is among the key inhibitors to broadening the demand for these products, especially in the changing climate of Brazil’s slowing economy and shaky consumer confidence. In 2014, baby wipes retailed for an average of three to four cents per wipe (at 2014 fixed exchange rate). New products, such as Pampers Sensitive, did carry a higher price point of 11 cents per wipe. This, however, is still significantly lower than an average price of facial cleansing wipes, at three cents and over. Considering various cheaper alternatives widely available to remove makeup and impurities, such as liquid cleansers, facecloths and cotton pads, consumers in Brazil consider wipes a luxury rather than an essential product for their daily face cleansing routine.
The second fastest growth in wipes in the country was achieved by general purpose wipes, with 7% value increase (in U.S.$ constant value terms) in 2014, over 2013. These wipes are marketed and used for hands, face and body, at home or on-the-go. Convenience, coupled with better pricing compared to facial wipes, helped to secure more consumer purchases.
Affordability and further product segmentation to support consumer adoption
Wipes in Brazil will continue to gain traction, with expected growth of 11% CAGR at constant 2014 prices over the next five years. Baby wipes, general purpose wipes and facial cleansing wipes will remain the key product categories. However, there is certainly room for further product segmentation and differentiation to expand consumer reach.
High price point has been a stumbling block to wider wipes usage and price sensitivity becomes particularly important considering economic problems the country is facing. Over the last decade, Brazil has become a linchpin of developing market growth for many leading hygiene products manufacturers, such as Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, which have tapped successfully into the country’s rapidly growing middle class population. However, the good times have now stalled, with far reaching implications across consumer goods industries.
With increased focus on price, evolving private label wipes are likely to gain more prominence in Brazil. In 2014, private label wipes in the country registered an impressive 30% increase in value of sales. Manufacturers of private label products have been developing more expertise, thereby providing retailers with a wider range of products of improved quality that help to draw shoppers’ attention and compete successfully with top players.The value and development of economy product ranges will be strongly on the agenda in 2015 and the following years. However, further product segmentation and differentiation as well as strong marketing activity should not be neglected to support long-term steady growth. In cosmetic wipes products developed and marketed to men can be one area to consider. Men’s grooming products have seen significant growth in Brazil, including men’s toiletries like bath and shower, skin care and deodorants.
On the whole, men in Brazil still mainly spend on more traditional grooming products, such as shaving. However, robust growth seen by toiletries, coupled with product development that sees men’s specific lines of skin and bath care expanding on store shelves, are indicative of the growing interest in products outside of traditional grooming and open up opportunities for personal care wipes designed for and marketed to men. Looking at other markets where such developments have taken place can help to assess and design strategies for the category in Brazil.
For instance, in 2012 Dude Products in the U.S. introduced Dude Wipes, aimed specifically at male consumers who may not have time for a shower between work, the gym and social events. According to the company, its wipes are for cleaning faces, hands, armpits and ‘dude regions.’ The products are now distributed online and through specialty stores, to generally positive consumer reviews. In 2013 Dude Wipes won the Visionary Award at the Vision 2013 Consumer Products Conference in the U.S. With grooming and pampering on the rise among younger men, this type of innovation can help further expand the wipes category. However, it requires innovative thinking and investment into product development and marketing to secure consumer acceptance.