Friday 21 September 2012

EU Wipes for the USA?

Ian Bell of Euromonitor International (UK)  put the global retail wipes market value at $10 billion in 2011 despite the EU Homecare wipe sector declining by 4% per year during the preceeding 5 years.  Over the same period, Homecare grew 2% p.a in the USA and Consumer wipes grew 3.5% p.a. in the EU and 2.5% in the USA.  Could other differences between the EU and the US signal opportunities for the USA?

  • ·         The UK had double the average EU spend on toilet care and Sweden spent twice as much as the EU average on hand cleaning.
  • ·         Wet Toilet Tissue sales were strongest in Central Europe where they were used in 10% of homes.  2% of US homes used them and if this could grow to 10% the market would be worth $850million.
  • ·         Despite the strong growth and high usage of WTT in Germany there was no evidence of dry toilet paper sales being cannibalized, and the average German still spent $24 per year on Dry Toilet Paper.  This would equate to a $9.5 billion market if transferred to the USA.
  • ·         Packaging is the key to improving WTT sales in the EU, two examples of Kimberly Clark products being shown.  One was a Kleenex Flushable Fresh Wipes dispenser alongside the regular DTP dispenser in public washrooms.  This dispensed a sample pack with a “Try me now or Take me home” suggestion.  The other was a Cottonelle Easy Reach™ hanger above the DTP roll in a domestic bathroom. This was said to be  “coming to America”. 
  • ·         The Kleenex “Viva” kitchen towel range was being extended with wet-wipes for cleaning soap-scum and stainless steel surfaces.
  • ·         Private label wipes had twice the market share in Europe compared to the USA.
  • ·         Cosmetic wipe sales had declined in the US and Japan from 2006 but had grown in the EU.  The UK used $3.5/capita of these wipes in 2011 - probably twice the EU average - compared to $0.5/capita in the USA.
  • ·         The US cosmetic wipe market would be $600 million/year if sales could reach UK levels.  However in this sector devices such as the battery-powered Neutrogena Microabrasion System could take share from exfoliant wipes.
  • ·         In Home care, antibacterial wipes were the only growth sector at present with concerns over H1N1 and E coli causing consumers to buy more.  Here also there was a threat from devices such as steam cleaners.
  • ·         For floor cleaning the new Robo-Mops were taking off in Europe sales having tripled since 2009 and expected to reach $600 million by 2015, or 3 times the expected sales in the USA.  Examples shown were the iRobot Scooba™ system using Chlorox liquid, and a Vileda™ system.
  • ·         Probiotic yogurts had grown strongly and the probiotic benefit was now being tried in cleaning products in Europe.  Aggies™ probiotic toilet, multisurface and bathroom cleaning fluids were mentioned.
Asked what the biggest “take-away” from the EU scene for US producers might be, Mr Bell mentioned the probiotics for hard surfaces, and in future, probiotic sanitary protection products.

(from a paper given at the INDA WOW Conference, Chicago, June 2012)

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