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Sharp division in the private label sanitary protection market.

internal san pro sales grow drastically, while external protection category remains flat

The good news in the overall sanitary protection market is that raw material prices, having skyrocketed in recent years, have finally steadied. Despite this let up, however, the total sanitary protection market was flat in the last year, with total external category sales up a mere 1% and total tampon sales dipping 2%.

The story in the private label sector was different, however. The first half of 1996 saw significant growth in the store brand internal protection (tampon) sector, with the market for private label external protection products (pads) remaining essentially flat. In a reversal of last year's findings, a November/December Private Label magazine study revealed private label tampons have surged nearly 50% this year. External protection private label sales fell 0.3 share points due to a 0.5 share point decline among mass merchandise chains. In the areas of both food and drug chains, however, store brands' external protection share experienced slight increases.

As a category, store brands' external protection sales came in third place at 13.8%, behind Procter & Gamble's "Always" (29.1%) and Kimberly-Clark's "Kotex" (25.4%), but ahead of Personal Products' (Johnson & Johnson) "Stayfree" (12.4%) and "Carefree"(10%) products, K-C's "New Freedom" (7.4%) and Personal Products' "Sure and Natural" (1.6%). With growth of 7% and 8% respectively, panty liners and ultrathins were among the private label product highlights in 1996. Store brands outperformed the overall category in panty liners, ultra thins and traditional maxis.

The total external protection category includes maxis with 28%, panty liners with 24%, panty shields with 15%, ultra thins with 13%, plus products with 11% and thin maxis with 9%. The plus segment saw an increase of 20%, while ultra thins and panty liners experienced a growth rate of 4% and 3% respectively. Decreasing external protection categories included thin maxis, down 15%; maxis, down 2% and panty shields, down 1%. Representing 43% of pl external sales, maxi pads were the top selling product, followed by panty shields (19%), panty liners (18%), thin maxis (8%), plus products (6%), ultra thins and tabbed/mini (2%).

With a 9% growth rate, mass merchandisers remain the fastest growing class of trade in the total external sanitary protection area, while supermarkets and drug chains dipped slightly, declining 2% and 5% respectively. Overall, however, supermarkets still represent the leading market with 45% of sales, followed by mass merchandisers at 35% and drug chains at 20%.

Tampon Trends

A similar trend can be found in the total tampon area, according to the Private Label survey. Growth of 7% was reported by mass merchandisers while food chains were down 4% and drug chains dropped 2%. Here food chains remain the leading sales venue, accounting for 42% of sales, with mass merchandisers at 36% and drug stores at 22%.

Significant growth took place in the tampon sector last year. Current market share according to producer are: Tambrands (49%), Playtex (25%), Kimberly-Clark (12%), Personal Products (9%) and private labels (5%, up from almost zero three years ago). Outside of the private label sector, most other brands also had a good year - Kimberly-Clark jumped 8.1%, Playtex was up 7.4% and Personal Products was up 5%. In contrast to this marked growth, Tambrands, the brand leader, fell 10.3% this year.

Affecting tampon sales in 1996 was applicator style; rounded tips now represent 53% of the market, according to the Private Label survey. Open ended tampons, meanwhile, account for 38%. All store brand tampons feature rounded tips, while "Tampax" is the only open ended product currently available in stores. In other applicator news, cardboard applicators represent the leading tampon segment, with a 54% market share, as well as the area experiencing the most growth.

Innovations in the branded market include a new "all-days" line of panty liners from P&G, although according to Private Label, this is detracting from the company's base Always business. Revamped packaging is being introduced by Personal Products across its Stayfree and Carefree lines. Personal Products has also relaunched its "o.b." tampons as "o.b. Free" to allow for the introduction of the new "o.b. Applicator" product.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Wuagneux, Ellen Lees
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Mar 1, 1997
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