Bathroom products – on a hot wash


Bathroom products manufacturers are striving to cater to consumer demand for relaxing and energising bath/shower products with appealing scents, effective cleansing properties and good skin feel. For extra impact in a commodity market, many are adding a wow factor to bath additives with colour and texture effects. Whereas others have tapped into the trends for natural, food-themed and skin care related bath/shower products. The next generation of anti-bacterial hand soaps, meanwhile, promise to kill gems while protecting skin.

Bath additives are losing ground as consumers choose to shower. Julia Wray asks, how do we persuade people to spend longer in the bathroom and more on products?

Consumers demand two principal effects from their bathroom products: to help energise them in the morning and relax at night. And in general, people tend to freshen up with a morning shower and unwind in the tub.

But data from Euromonitor International suggests shower products are gaining in popularity among consumers to the detriment of the bath additives market. In 2010 the market for body wash and shower gel (its more viscose alternative) reached nearly $10bn, a year on year increase of 5.5%. The market for bath additives in contrast, presented sluggish growth, with some sub-sectors – bath oils/pearls and bath salts/powders, for instance – exhibiting negative growth.

“Time constraints and concerns for the environment likely play into the decline in bath additive sales as consumers opt for showers over bathing,” explains Mintel personal care analyst Ricky Lakhani.

“Meanwhile, bar soaps face stiff competition from liquids, which may be considered as being a more hygienic cleansing option in multi-person households.”

In addition to growing usage of body wash and shower gel, other liquid products also cannibalised sales of bar soaps. Euromonitor says liquid soap enjoyed sales of $3.7bn in 2010, while the market for intimate hygiene products, although still relatively small at $1.7bn, increased by 12.6%.

“You don’t just have beauty brands launching intimate hygiene products,” notes Irina Barbalova, head of beauty & personal care research at Euromonitor International. “A lot of feminine hygiene brands have introduced versions too. That’s why it’s such a dynamic category.”

This said, bar soap, worth $13.7bn still accounts for the lion’s share of the $33.8bn global bathroom products sector and remains popular in Latin America, especially in countries like Brazil.

Ongoing recessionary pressures continued to have an adverse effect on value growth, according to Lakhani.

“Excluding the effects of inflation, the category failed to deliver any real growth in market value,” he notes. “The current economic climate means that consumers are watching household budgets carefully and keeping a keen eye out for promotions and special offers, which put pressure on value growth. Aggressive discounting actions boosted volume sales growth between 2009 and 2010, for instance.”

Barbalova adds: “There has been a lot of trade down to private label products in bath and shower, whereas in skin care in 2010, for example, demand for premium anti-agers grew. In times of uncertainty, it’s usually commodity products that consumers choose to trade down on.”

However, bathroom product brands are responding with sustained innovation in the hope of persuading consumers to trade up.

Michael Kellner, vp for marketing at Schwarzkopf & Henkel, comments: “Bathroom products may be seen as utilitarian but there are lots of ways to make ingredients appear more interesting. We use innovative concepts, ground-breaking benefits and new fragrances to make the category more exciting.”

Brands would also be wise to maximise consumer appeal, as Noella Gabriel, director of product & treatment development at Elemis explains. “Efficacy is very important for a customer when looking for a bath product. They must bring an experience aromatically and perform,” she tells SPC. “Also customers like bath products to look great in the bathroom.”

As for the ideal shower product, Gabriel states: “It must have a soft after-feel to the skin and not leave it feeling and looking dry. It very important that it mustn’t wrinkle the fingertips but have a burst of freshness first thing in the morning and cleanliness at night.”

Table 1: Bath & shower market, by sector, historic/forecast (US$m)
Bath & shower30,385.532,329.633,777.735,551.137,463.8
Bar soap11,979.712,998.813,650.214,490.615,343.2
Bath additives3,428.73,368.13,363.53,369.33,409.9
Bath foam/gel1,760.31,740.71,748.41,770.51,797.9
Bath oil/pearls253.2246.1244.2243.6245.0
Bath salts/powder1,220.81,189.81,184.61,175.51,186.6
Body wash/shower gel9,104.59,471.19,988.310,498.011,066.1
Intimate hygiene1,391.61,531.81,725.11,865.71,998.9
Liquid soap3,217.93,650.23,690.83,915.74,176.3
Talcum powder1,263.01,309.71,359.91,411.91,469.4
* Forecast figures Source: Euromonitor International

Tabe 2: Bath & shower market, by sector, historic/forecast, year on year growth (%)
Bath & shower6.
Bar soap8.
Bath additives-1.8-
Bath foam/gel-
Bath oil/pearls-2.8-0.8-0.20.6
Bath salts/powder-2.5-0.4-0.80.9
Body wash/shower gel4.
Intimate hygiene10.
Liquid soap13.
Talcum powder3.
* Forecast figures Source: Euromonitor International

Relax & unwind

Whether opting for a bath or shower, consumers selected products claiming relaxing or de-stressing effects.

“A third of innovations in 2010 boasted an aromatherapy claim, which may be a result of an upturn in stress and anxiety linked to the economy and job insecurity,” adds Lakhani. “Manufacturers of soap, bath and shower products have been quick to respond to this with stress relieving products.”

Palmolive for example, launched Aromatherapy Shower Gel, comprising Absolute Relax with ylang ylang essential oils and iris extract; Sensual with Moroccan rose essential oils and ginseng extract; and Morning Tonic with tangerine essential oils and lemongrass extract.

A number of brands also exploited this stress relieving tendency by launching more indulgent options.

New from Ted Baker are four high end toiletries ranges: Butterfly and Origami for women, and Toolshed and Workshop for men. Butterfly blends notes of bergamot and red fruits with tuberose and patchouli and includes body wash and body scrub products, while Origami has a raspberry, rose, vanilla and sandalwood scent and includes body wash and bath foam.

Kings & Queens, which channels the history of royal bathing rituals, relaunched its range to focus on ‘stories’ relating to historical rulers, such as Nefertiti Honey and Tsar Peter Tobacco.

Recent private label launches meanwhile, have emulated the more standout look and feel of branded products, rather than erring towards value as a principal selling point. UK drugstore Superdrug opted for bright colours and gourmet names for its I Love... Bubble Baths & Shower Cremes, available in Raspberry & Blackberry, Vanilla & Icecream, Strawberries & Milkshake, Lemons & Limes, Coconut & Cream and Mango & Papaya varieties, while supermarket Tesco struck a retro note with Along Came Betty, a 1950s-inspired bathing range featuring So Much Bubble Skin Softening Bath Soak, Hey Sugar Sugar Easily Spreadable Body Scrub and Clean Around the Clock Soft Skin Shower Wash.

Table 3: Global bath & shower markets (US$m)
Asia Pacific8,647.09,447.8
Eastern Europe2,167.22,348.7
Middle East and Africa1,757.82,005.2
North America6,214.96,200.7
Western Europe8,081.88,010.9
* Forecast figures Source: Euromonitor International

Spa synergies

Also denoting a trend towards relaxing bath and shower products, 2011 witnessed a continued boom in spa inspired products among major brands. Unilever owned Radox launched its Radox Spa range comprising Condition, Rejuvenate and Soothe Bath Soaks; Purify, Enrich and Condition Shower Creams; and a Radiant Shower Scrub.

Similarly, Palmolive introduced three Palmolive Thermal Spa Shower Gels. Mineral Massage contains aloe vera extract and exfoliating Dead Sea salts, popular for their purifying and revitalising properties; Turkish Bath contains poppy and eucalyptus extracts for a cooling, refreshing shower; and Thermal Fresh is formulated with algae extract and thermal minerals.

There were also spa inspired offerings from retailers Superdrug, which launched Ooh La Spa, featuring Keep It Clean Body Wash and Take A Dip Bath Soak; and Marks & Spencer, whose new 14-sku Spa Collection Experience line includes Muscle Relaxing Bath Soak with rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus and cloves; Skin Nourishing Body Wash containing natural plant sugars; Skin Nourishing Bath Milk with 20% moisturising sweet almond oil; and Absolute Calm Bath Essence, which blends mandarin, chamomile and lavender.

“Many people work long hours and have little time to unwind and de-stress,” a Unilever representative tells SPC. “In the current economic climate a number of consumers simply do not have the funds to treat themselves to a massage or spa day, meaning they often turn to brands such as Radox to provide them with the relaxation they desire at minimal cost.”

“During times of recession, time becomes very important especially trying to manage it,” adds Gabriel. “When stress levels are high it becomes very important to carve out some ‘me time’. But on a budget, more consumers will spend less time having indulgent spa treatments and are likely to invest in spa rituals at home by recreating ‘spa-ing’ at home, either by themselves or with some friends for a ‘girls night in’ feel.”

Elemis boosted its at home offering in 2011 as part of its Elemis spa@home transformation. New bathroom products include Quiet Mind Relaxing Bath Elixir, Tranquil Touch Indulgent Bath Elixir, Tranquil Touch Creamy Body Wash, Revitalise-me Shower Gel, Revitalise-me Hand Wash and Wild Lavender Hand Wash.

The Sanctuary meanwhile, identified the modern woman’s three main needs: to improve sleep, counteract the effects of stress and impart more vitality. In response it developed Spa Therapies, split into Sleep with ylang ylang, frankincense and patchouli; Relax, containing vetivert, cedarwood and labdanum; and Revive with grapefruit, lemongrass and orange.

Luxury Thai spa inspired brand Jainnisa, the brainchild of Jainnisa Kuvinichkul, uses Thai essential oils and traditional ingredients like blue lotus to stimulate circulation, nourishing white champaca and relaxing ylang ylang. Products include Unwind Body and Bath Oil, Moisturising Shower Milk, Sumptuous Bath Elixir, Enlivening Tropical Colour Change Bath Elixir, Reviving Shower Gel and Moisturising Hand Wash.

“Thai spas generally have a very positive image among consumers,” notes Henry Head, regional director, Europe for Blissful Exotica, a UK-based subsidiary of Jainnisa. “When people think of Thailand they think of its lovely beaches, the friendly people and traditional Thai massages – all positive connotations.

“There aren’t many other genuine Thai spa products available in the UK and we’re going for the premium market with high quality ingredients and formulations.”

Table 4: Bath & shower, brand shares, 2010
BrandCompany name (GBO)
DoveUnilever Group
LuxUnilever Group
NiveaBeiersdorf AG
SafeguardProcter & Gamble Co, The
AvonAvon Products Inc
NaturaNatura Cosméticos SA
Johnson\'sJohnson & Johnson Inc
DialHenkel AG & Co KGaA
Protexcolgate-Palmolove Co
Source: Euromonitor International

Novelty value

Jainnisa also introduced an element of theatre to bath time with its Bath Elixirs. The products boast a patented natural mineral formula, which activates upon contact with water to turn bathwater a cerulean blue. Head adds: “If people are going to pamper themselves, they like an ‘oooh, wow!’ factor and for a brand it is important to have innovative products that have not been seen in the market before.”

Jainnisa wasn’t the only name to offer a wow factor when it came to bathing in 2011. Lush expanded its Bath Ballistic concept with Phoenix Rising, a double-layer sparkling purple and green bath bomb containing essential oils, and Rose Queen with notes of rose absolute, geranium and rock rose.

Also new were macaroon inspired versions of Lush’s Bubble Bars, Bubbleroons, available in Green (grass and orange flower), Rose Jam (with rose absolute and rose oil) and Yuzu & Cocoa (containing grapefruit and bergamot oils plus cocoa and tonka).

Following the success of its children’s product Gelli Baff, Gelicity UK introduced Gel Spa, an adult bath product that turns bath water into a thick gel-like substance. A Gel Former product transforms water into gel in five minutes and when finished, the user can add Gel Dissolver and stir to turn the gel back into water before getting out and draining.

“The inspiration to create the adult bath spa was simply thinking how can I make bath time a bit different from the normal bubble baths or salt baths and with the launch of Gel Spa I think I’ve done just that,” says Paul Morris, co-owner and inventor of Gelicity UK. “The benefit of having a Gel Spa bath or a kids’ Gelli Baff is the softening effect that the gel beads leave on the skin. The beads clean out pores and soften hard skin in minutes leaving you feeling clean and fresh. All our fragrances are all allergen free and we don’t use preservatives, because the product is a dry powder.”

The range comprises Gel Spa Relax Bath Gel with lavender, jasmine and bergamot; Revive Bath Gel (which is infused with rosemary); and a Soothe variant containing juniper.

And coming months could mark the debut of tan in the bath products, which Morris cites as his latest project due for launch in 2012.

Lather, rinse, repeat
Consumers are far more aware of hand hygiene in the wake of 2009’s swine flu pandemic, even if there is no longer any risk of catching it. The initial response from brands was to launch hand soap with highly effective antibacterial and/or anti-viral properties. But now a second generation of products is offering antibacterial efficacy combined with skin care claims.
Carex launched Carex Protect+Plus, which comes in Original, Moisturising and Sensitive variants, as well as a 50ml hand gel. Products in the line are claimed to remove and kill 99.9% of bacteria and provide antibacterial protection for up to two hours.
Meanwhile, Palmolive’s Hygiene-Plus Sensitive Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap with Aloe Vera Extract also removes 99.9% of bacteria but is enriched with aloe vera to leave hands soft as well as clean.

Health & wellness

The natural, organic and free from markets continued to evolve in 2011. Sanex (now owned by Unilever) continued to roll out its Sanex Zero% products – biodegradable and free from parabens, colourants, phthalates and phenoxyethanol – into new market regions. And French market leader Le Petit Marseillais introduced new formulations across all products, eliminating or minimising the use of parabens, phthalates, disodium EDTA and PEG.

In addition, according to Euromonitor’s Barbalova: “There are a lot more synergies and crossover with skin care. Claims like anti-ageing, moisturising and products for sensitive skin are now replicated in the bath and shower market,” she notes.

Sanex’s Unilever stable-mate Dove reformulated its entire shower range to include Dove’s NutriumMoisture technology, previously only used in the Dove VisibleCare range, which has been developed to address lipid loss and dry skin.

The brand also enhanced its offer with a new variant, Rebalance Plum and Sakura Blossom. The reformulation and new fragrance are “set to drive incremental sales to the shower category”, according to Dove.

Germany’s Fa likewise promised a skin health boost introducing Fa Sensual & Oil, a bath and body care range designed especially for autumn and winter. The products are said to be extra moisturising with argan oil, marula oil and sweet almond oil. There are two shower creams (Vanilla Blossom and Monoi Blossom), one foamy bath additive (Monoi Blossom), and one bar soap and one liquid soap also in the Monoi Blossom fragrance.

The vogue for gourmande products also continued apace.

“We are seeing more and more exotic, novel ingredients used in bath and shower products,” Barbalova tells SPC. “It’s not unusual to see products inspired by health and wellness containing ingredients like super foods, fruit extracts, sugar, pomegranate, yoghurt and even vitamins. It’s an easy way to achieve natural position credentials.”

Crabtree & Evelyn for example, launched a Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed line including Skin Smoothing Body Scrub, Skin Cleansing Bath & Shower Gel and a Replenishing Body Bar infused with a distinctive fruity scent and offering the nutritive benefits of Moroccan argan oil. Also new was Revitalising Bath & Shower Gel, part of the Crabtree & Evelyn Avocado, Olive and Basil Body and Hand Care Collection, which is said to leave skin fresh and gently moisturised.

Korres likewise opted for pomegranate in one of four new natural bar soaps. Designed for oily skin, the Pomegranate bar has mild antiseptic and toning properties. Three more soaps, softening Chamomile, moisturising Wheat and mild Milk, launched simultaneously.

Two new Korres shower gels – Mango and Coconut Milk – also swelled the ranks of ‘foodie’ bathroom products available to consumers.

Natural humectant and healing agent honey was the dish of choice for Lush’s newest shower gel, meanwhile. It’s Raining Men, a liquid version of Lush’s Honey I Washed The Kids soap, was originally introduced as a Valentine’s Day limited edition, but proved so popular that Lush added the product to its shower gel range permanently.

Finally, Soap & Glory incorporated a more traditional fruit scent into new body wash Foam Call, which contains peppermint essential oils, grape seed EFAS, fruit liquid fig and orange water juice, and scrub Pulp Friction. The brand’s new Fruitigo fragrance, used in both products blends citrus notes with fig.

Heritage bathing

Hard times often provoke nostalgia, encouraging customers to look to the familiar for comfort. And with the world’s eyes on England for the royal wedding in April 2011, it was little surprise that some brands chose to emphasise their British heritage status, while others created lines with a traditionally English look and feel.

New from prestige beauty retailer Space NK was Beautania, a bath and body range inspired by the scents of Britain. Bloomsbury echoes the soft, clean notes of a garden square at dawn and wildflower-scented Brideshead is inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s rural idyll, while Balfour captures the Scottish Highlands with notes of oakmoss and English fern. Each scent comes in bath & shower gel, bath oil and bar soap formats.

There were also collaborations between natural British brand Green & Spring and Liberty of London, which launched a Green & Spring Hand Wash and Shower & Bath Foam featuring the signature Liberty print, and Berkeley Square Cosmetics and The Royal Ballet, which launched a range of de-stressing products to meet the needs of The Royal Ballet’s members, which includes Soothing & Relaxing Bath & Shower Cream.

The National Trust also made the move into personal care with a collection of outdoors inspired fragrances: Coast – Rock Samphire and Driftwood; Garden – Wild Rose and Chamomile; Woodlands – Beechwood and Bramble; and Countryside – Cowslip and Meadowsweet. Each line features a hand & body wash and bar soap.

And Yardley London grew its portfolio with luxury body washes in every signature scent: English Lavender, Lily of the Valley, English Rose, Peony and Royal English Daisy. The rich, creamy lather contains coenzyme Q10 to help skin feeling smooth and firm and boost its ability to fight wrinkles.

Indeed, the uptake of anti-ageing skin care benefits is something the industry can expect to see more of in the future as brands seek to differentiate themselves in this commodity market.

The outlook for bathroom products is optimistic, according to Lakhani. “Looking ahead, we believe that bathing and showering products’ positioning as necessity items combined with the 3.4% population increase projected by 2015 will help buoy the market,” he notes. “The strongest categories, shower products and liquid soaps look set to deliver annual single digit upticks, while bath additives and bar soaps will hold back growth in the medium term.”