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Personal care shoppers motivated by deals.

SHELTON, Conn. -- Deals figure prominently in the personal care category, with nine of 10 consumers regularly deploying at least one deal-scoring tactic when shopping for toothpaste, bar soap, shampoo and the like.

That's according to TABS Analytics, which recently released its 2017 Personal Care Study, undertaken to determine the types of personal care items consumer are buying, where the items are purchased, how many products consumers are buying and how often they're bought.

Shoppers' most commonly deployed tactic was buying their personal care products from retailers featuring an everyday-low-price strategy, according to the report. That helps explain the report's finding that Walmart leads all retailers with a 19.4% share of purchases in the $40 billion personal care market in the United States. Kroger Co. was No. 2, with a 16.6% share, followed by Target Corp., at 12.1%. CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and dollar stores collectively control nearly a quarter of the market for personal care items.

"Walmart, traditional food stores and Target are the clear winners in the personal care market with almost 50% of all estimated purchases," TABS chief executive officer Kurt Jetta commented in a statement. "Unlike what we see in beauty--where online sales is a key driver--online sales in personal care products is relatively unimportant, coming in at just 3.1% of market share."

Less affluent shoppers tend to rely on passive deal tactics, including everyday-low prices, bonus packs, private label and value brands, according to the study. Millennials are less reliant on deal offers, especially those linked to freestanding inserts and circulars. Latinos are more likely to be heavy buyers of personal care items, according to the TABS blueprint, which characterizes one-third of Latinos as heavy buyers, compared with 21% of the overall population.

Consumers are beginning to draw connections between health, beauty and sustainability, and the market is realigning as a result. TABS identified nine personal care trends:

* Probiotics--Equilibrium of the microbiome is key in maintaining health and beauty. Rather than antibacterials that kill everything, the industry is adding components to foster the growth and health of the body's beneficial flora.

* Greater transparency and connection with the product--New Hope Network makes the assertion "Natural beauty is the new craft beer." Consumers are diligent about checking the label to ensure acceptable ingredients.

* Greater product diversity--Luxury and value brands are occupying shelf space in the naturals section. Even conventional retailers are looking to stock natural products due to consumer demand from all income brackets.

* Efficacy improvements--Part of the slow adoption of natural personal care products was due to the perception that these products didn't work as advertised. Technical advancements are allowing natural brands to catch up with established commercial brands in efficacy.

* Waste reduction--Forward-thinking manufacturers are repurposing food industry byproducts. For example, Further Products makes glycerin-based soap out of restaurant waste grease.

* Nontoxic antibacterials--Since the U.S. banned triclosan, the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps, due to human health risks, manufacturers have developed milder, natural antibacterials.

* Self-regulation--Consumer advocacy has led to increased self-regulation, and trade associations are bringing together those ethical companies that are committed to only using safe ingredients.

* Essential oils--Consumer interest in artisan products means increased retail space for items previously in the direct-to-consumer realm.

* Combining topical and ingestible products--Renewed interest in the microbiome has led to pairings of ingestibles (probiotics, CoQ10) with topical beauty products.
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Title Annotation:INNOVATION: Personal Care
Date:Jul 17, 2017
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