Sales of such products showed 'a blip of relief' in 2005 thanks to the introduction of skin rejuvenating, high-end therapeutic washes and bath scrubbers - a route that is likely to provide modest group for a handful of producers in the near future, says market research publisher Packaged Facts.
The market for bar soaps, body wash, bath additives, and bath scrubbers will continue to fall from a high of $2.6 billion in 2000 to a 10-year low of $2.18 billion in 2010, according to the latest report from the publisher, entitled The US Market for Bath and Shower Products.
Contributing to the steady market decline are a nationwide saturation in the bar soap sector, a drop in bath additive sales as consumers forsake baths for showers, and an ongoing shift from bath and shower products to multi-benefit skin care products, the report's authors claim.
As well as the premium end of the market, the report also highlights that it will be this move towards multi-benefit skin care products and other key niches that will enable manufacturers to pin-point several small new growth areas.
"Marketers are learning that they can help to revitalize their product lines by introducing many of the same skin rejuvenating and health related benefits that are currently driving record sales in the skin care industry," said Don Montuori of Packaged Facts.
"By leveraging the therapeutic and emotional benefits of ultra-hydrating and exfoliating ingredients, as well as organics, aromatherapy, vitamins, deep-sea products, and even color therapy, marketers should be able to see gains, particularly in the women's market.
"Furthermore, by including these benefits in market-specific products for teens and tweens, children, and men, we could see a complete turnaround in the market."
Manufacturers might equally do well to tap into the trend for natural products, by highlighting natural ingredients that make up the formulations of many bath and shower products. A number of market experts have highlighted how stagnant categories are being bucked by the inclusion of organic and natural product ranges.
TNS Media Intelligence/CRM predicts that the annual growth rate for natural organic skin care, hair care and color cosmetics markets in the US to be around 9 percent between 2003 and 2008, increasing in value from $3.9 billion to $5.8 billion.