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Private label feminine hygiene: fourth in the sanpro race.

Private Label Feminine Hygiene: Fourth In The Sanpro Race

private label sanitary products combine the best features of the top three to be competitive in a changing market The sanitary protection market, a surprisingly active $1.7 billion category in the U.S. in 1990, grew 6.3% in dollar sales in the past year, according to a recent survey done by Private Label magazine. Private label players in the sanitary protection category currently claim about 15% of the market, finishing fourth behind branded leaders Personal Products with 26%, Kotex, 24%, and Procter & Gamble, 21% (Figure 1).

Private label manufacturers, the survey said, are concentrating on adopting the best performance features of the three leading brands in an effort produce high quality, low cost sanitary napkins. Store brands claim the driest coversheet with the exception of P&G's "Always," are equivalent to Personal Products in terms of absorvency and have also mimicked Kotex's poly packaging and lower prices. In addition, several retailers are initiating year-long advertising and coupon campaigns to promote store brand products.

In terms of overall sanitary sales, the PL survey reported that liners head the category with 36% of the market. Unit sales are up 11.3%--and have grown 44% through the last five years--while dollar sales rose 8.5%. The proliferation of products has dropped the typical price from $1.99 to $1.19 and box counts are dropping from 26 to 24. About 75% of liners are sold in boxes, with "Carefree" and "New Freedom Anydays" the two notable exceptions in poly packaging. Several brands have also added baking soda to their liner products but experienced no significant sales growth.

Liners represent the second largest private label segment, with 22% of the volume. This has decreased from 27% a year ago; however, the drop can be attributed to the lowering of national brand retails.

The biggest sellers among liners are "Kotex Lightdays," with 10.8% of the market, Carefree, with 6.7%, Always, with 4.1%, private labels, 3.9%, "Sure & Natural," 2.3%, "Stayfree," 1.4%, "Maxithins," 1.2% and "Whenever," .4%.

Maxi pads are the largest store brand segment, with 54% of total private label sanitary sales, up from 50% last year. This is further divided into regular store brand maxi pads, up 7.1%, PL super maxi pads, up 8.9%, and store brand deodorant maxis, up 2.9%.

In the national brand segment, Kotex super maxi pads grew 8.5% in the past year, Always super maxis increased 6.4% and Kotex Overnite is up 3.1%. Overall sales of maxi pads jumped 3.5% in units and 13.4% in dollars in the past year; maxi pads make up 27.2% of the overall sanpro market.

Almost all maxi pad packaging has switched to poly bags in the past year. Other developments included Stayfree's discontinuation of its "Silhouettes" pad, which reportedly suffered enormous losses for the past two years, and the introduction of baking soda into its products late in 1989. Again, no significant sales gains were recorded since the addition.

In the maxi pad market, Stayfree remains on top, with 7.8% market share. Private labels follow, with 5.9%, Kotex is third with 5.8% and Always is next with 3.4%. Rounding out the category are New Freedom, 2.9%, Kotex Overnites, 2% and Kotex Profile, 1.1%.

Thins rank third in private label sales, with 14% of the total PL market. The largest increase was marked by PL super thins, which grew 29.8%, while PL regular thins also increased 6.9%. The only national brand that recorded an increase was Kotex Super, up 19.1%. Overall, the segment--which accounts for 23.9% of the market--declined 2% in units and 5.6% in dollars.

Mini pads, which make up the fourth largest segment, accounted for 6% of total private label sales last year and 2.4% of the overall market. Sales were up 4.3% for store brands, while all branded products lost market share.

The newest and smallest category, plus pads, represent 9.9% of the overall market but only 1% of total PL sales, although many retailers that have been in the segment for a longer time are doing 10-15% of their PL sales in plus products. Store brand Night Plus recorded an increase of 22.4%, while PL Maxi Plus jumped 19.1%. National brands also grew, with Always Double Plus up 39.2% and Always Night Plus growing 18.5%.

The entire segment grew 24.5% in dollars and 13.9% in units. Private label plus products are typically priced at $2.99, while national brands cost $3.69.

Private Label's survey pointed out several other trends in the private label sanitary protection market:

* Every store brand stock keeping unit (SKU) increased in sales in the-last year, with thin supers growing the most at 29.8%.

* Private label unit sales grew 12.7% in drug chains, 12.2% in mass merchandise chains and 4.7% in supermarket chains.

* Liners led in the total sanitary protection category, with 36%, full size maxi pads were next, with 27.2%, thins followed, with 23.9%, plus products captured 9.9% of the market, mini pads held 2.4% and tabbed products trailed, with .6%

* In the private label area, however, full size maxis led the way with 54%, liners were next with 22%, thins were third at 14%, mini pads followed with 6%, tabbed products had 3% and plus pads finished up with 1%.

* The trend towards environmentaly friendly products has had little impact on the category, although some retailers, including Wal-mart, KMart, CVS and Fay's, have added environmentally friendly lines.

* A recent consumer study indicated that 99% of consumers would purchase private label sanitary products again. [Figure 1 Omitted]
COPYRIGHT 1991 Rodman Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on Private Label Manufacturers Exhibition; sanitary protection products
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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