Unilever has had a keen eye on the premium segment of late, a savvy direction given recent reports that higher end products are outperforming the wider market in Europe.
Commenting on this focus earlier this year, market research provider Euromonitor International noted that acquisitions and new product development both point to Unilever chasing the premium market.
“Unilever’s strategy of increasingly focusing on higher-priced premium segments and dynamic categories continues in 2017, with the acquisition of Hourglass and its investment into True Botanicals,” says Euromonitor.
“Unilever is also strengthening its portfolio via organic product developments, such as the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume range and Lux Luminique, which also serves the purpose of aligning its brands with growing sophistication in emerging markets.”
Acquisitions & launches
Further to the above, other acquisitions and launches have been seen this year.
Sundial Brands is set to join the ever-expanding Unilever family from 2018, according to reports.
The US brand specialises in products relevant to women of colour, and its acquisition is a sign of the increasing prominence in western markets of products that represent a diverse consumer base.
Carver Korea was another brand snapped up by the company in September, a move that saw Unilever gain its first K-beauty brand and a greater foothold in premium products (which ties into its broader strategy in this segment, outlined above).
Baby Dove was introduced across 26 markets, in a sign that baby-specific products are now firmly on the consumer radar.
Hijab Fresh, a new brant in its parent company’s portfolio, was launched in Indonesia to ‘provide a solution to the specific needs of the Muslim consumer’.
Speaking earlier this year, the company asserted that startups are likely to play a significant role in defining how consumer goods industries develop in the coming years.
Unilever's innovation platform, Unilever Foundry, released a ‘State of Innovation’ report, and said that there will be “no slowing down in the influence of startups and innovators”.
Environment & sustainability
CDP, a sustainability indexing company, awarded L’Oréal and Unilever triple A ratings this year for sustainability, making them the only two companies to achieve this globally.
In a statement, Unilever said: “Being a sustainable business goes hand-in-hand with being a successful business, as we drive profitable growth for our brands, save costs, reduce risk and fuel innovation.”