Unilever 2017 profile: changes, challenges and strengths

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever 2017 profile: changes, challenges and strengths

Related tags New product development Sustainability

We take a look at the year in review for Unilever, global parent-company to many household personal goods brands. What did the fast moving consumer goods giant get up to, and why?

Premium push

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’.

Startup spotlight

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​.”​

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