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Private label baby diapers increase market share.

training pants next PL product introduction, superthin products on the way

Disposable baby diaper sales rose 8.1% at the consumer level last year, fueled by a decline in the environmental outcry regarding disposable diapers and a rise in new product innovations and introductions, according a recent article in Private Label magazine. The category is led by "Pampers," manufactured by Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, with a 26.9% market share, up from 24.8% a year ago. "Huggies," from Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, had a 26.0% share, down from 29.1%, while the third major national brand, "Luvs," also manufactured by P&G, held a 15.7% market share, down from 19.9% in 1991.

In the private label category, diaper products recorded a 23% increase in sales from the previous year. Private label products now have 17.5% of the market, up from 14.0% last year, and are in third place overall. The remaining 13.9% is made up from various smaller brands (Figure 1).

Part of the 13.9% market share of other producers can be accounted for by generic and regional brands. Putting private label, control label, generic and regional brands together into a "value segment" creates a powerful sector in the diaper industry, one that accounts for nearly 25% of the market. Growth in this area has occurred mostly at the expense of branded products as value products have been gaining both wider acceptance and availability.

In an effort to profit from name brand innovations, private label manufacturers have also begun introducing their own training pants products. In mid-December, the first private label products arrived on the shelves, aiming for some of the $3 million market that had been the exclusive domain of KC's "Huggies Pull-Ups." P&G also had plans to enter the training pants market in January, but this introduction has been delayed. With the cost of Huggies Pull-Ups at nearly twice that of regular diapers, there is a large window of opportunity for private labels and retailers are eagerly anticipating adding PL training products to their shelves.

In another attempt to follow national brand introductions, private labels are expected to introduce their own superthin diapers in early 1994 if the current branded products show strength in the marketplace. Last May, Kimberly-Clark introduced "Huggies UltraTrims," a superabsorbent diaper that is 50% thinner than traditional styles. With a felt-like lining and a tighter fit, the new diaper uses a material that more effectively draws and distributes fluid. In addition, the product is made with 20% less plastic. UltraTrims are currently available nationwide.

Procter & Gamble announced last June it would introduce "Ultra Dry Pampers Phases" and "Ultra Dry Luvs Phases" in October. This national introduction has been delayed, however, and currently, the new diapers are available only in Eugene, OR, as part of a test market. National roll-out is now scheduled for the middle of this year.

The food, drug and mass merchandise stores that Private Label spoke with revealed that private label developmental diapers were the most added product to their shelves of all the private label products. Even though they have been on the market for less than a year, developmental private label diapers already represent 75% of total PL sales.

On a final note, Kimberly-Clark recently reduced its standard count in diaper packages an average of 10%. This, along with a 7% price reduction, gave K-C roughly a 3% per package price increase. Private label brands are expected to follow suit with count reductions if P&G reduces its counts as well.

Private Label Baby Wipes Clean Up

Baby wipes have been cleaning up in the marketplace, showing steady growth and gaining wider consumer use, according to a recent survey in Private Label magazine. Three major products or segments dominate the wipes industry - Scott's "Baby Fresh," private label products and Kimberly-Clark's "Huggies" baby wipes, a relative newcomer.

A major innovation in the wipes industry is the growth of refill packs for tubs. According to Private Label, refill packs now account for 10-15% of the tub market. Tub packs are a relatively recent introduction, possible only through changes in folding technology. The refill packs for tub use offer even greater convenience and environmental benefits to the consumer.

Other recent innovations in the baby wipes industry include the addition of diaper rash protectant formulas to the fluids that are used in the wipes. The packaging itself has also undergone transformations.

While tubs have definitely found their place on the shelf, new fluid treatments will have a harder time carving out a niche as shelf space is already at a premium. Scented wipes already account for 58.8% of the whole market, with unscented wipes at 25.6% and natural wipes at 15%. Branded protectant formulas have not yet reached the 1% level.

The newest entry into the baby wipe market is the Huggies product. Fueled by heavy promotions and with a high level of consumer brand recognition, unit volume for Huggies baby wipes have nearly tripled from a year earlier. Huggies Baby Wipes have also scored particularly well in the travel pack subsegment of the tub market and are about even in overall unit sales with Baby Fresh and private label products in markets where all three are available.

In the canister subsegment, overall sales have declined due to the popularity of the tub format. Four dominant brands, Wash-a-Bye, Chubs, Diaparene and private labels, divide the market about evenly.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on baby wipes market
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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