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Private label sanitary products hold steady in competitive market.

PL manufacturers look to keep up with branded suppliers and gain market share with new product introductions

With the $1.38 billion U.S. sanitary protection market growing in the sheer number of products offered, specifically with the introduction of products that provide every day hygienic protection, shelf space is becoming a tightly controlled commodity. There are now almost 100 stock-keeping units in the sanitary protection market, with the top 60 accounting for nearly 85% of sales.

However, according to a Private Label magazine survey, private label sales in the competitive sanitary protection market not only maintained its market share but even managed to grow slightly to 13.9% of the market, up from 13% a year earlier.

The Private Label study of the entire market, including both private label and name brands, was completed last October and "Kotex" was clearly the market leader. The Kimberly-Clark product has 27.1% of the market, up from 26% the year before. Personal Products is next at 25.6%, down from 26%, followed by Procter & Gamble with a 24.2% unit share, up two tenths of a percentage point. Private label products check in next with 13.9%, while New Freedom rounds out the segment at 9.1%, up one tenth of a percentage point since last year.

Product introductions into untapped segments of the industry are the next major steps that private label manufacturers are taking to strengthen their positions. According to Private Label, the first private label ultra thins will be shipped this month. Consisting of two SKU's, a 20-count ultra thins-plus maxi and an 18-count ultra thin plus long maxi, the products will be individually wrapped, packaged in poly bags and winged. Currently, winged products from national brand manufacturers account for 60% of segment sales. In addition, the ultra thin segment, which has jumped from zero to 9.3% of total sales in less than two years for name brand manufacturers, represents untouched potential for private label manufacturers.

Industry Breakdown By Product

In examining the sanitary protection market as a whole, the survey revealed that panty shields/liners account for 35.6% of sales, up from 34.1%. Full size pads are at 30%, down three tenths of a percent, followed by traditional thins at 15.2%, down from 19.4%. Ultra thins follow at 9.3%, up from 5%, while plus pads are at 8.7%, unchanged from last year, mini pads have 1% of the market, down from 2% and tabbed products hold 0.2%, down from 0.5%.

In the private label sector, the distribution is markedly different. Full size maxi pads represent 41% of PL sanitary sales, down 1% from 1991. Panty shields/liners follow at 29%, up from 28% last year, with thins next at 14%, down 2%. The remainder of the private label segment is made up of mini pads at 8%, unchanged from last year, plus products at 7%, up from 5%, and tabbed articles at 1%.

While mini pads currently account for only 8% of private label sales, private label mini pads dominate this segment with 65% of the overall market. "Stayfree" holds the remaining 35%. Looking ahead, the plus and new ultra thin segments are forecast to be the fastest-growing areas among private label brands.

In an interesting sidenote, the survey revealed an increase of 14.2% in the sale of deodorant products in the last year. This jump far outpaced the sale of non-deodorant products and was visible across the industry.

Packaging and Product Trends

The current trend in the sanitary protection market is towards longer and thinner products and |super' now refers to long, rather than thick, products. In another trend, all major national brands and private labels have completed a reduction in standard counts. New packaging sizes are: 24-count full size pads, 20-count plus, 22-count shields/liners and 20-count mini pads.

Finally, the annual growth of the sanitary protection industry through the 1990's has been projected to be about 3%. Many marketers are relying on the trends towards multi-product usage, such as panty shields combined with tampons, and the introduction of every day panty liners, to increase sales.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Rodman Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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