The company released its full year results earlier this week, positing a 4% increase in underlying sales and boosted particularly by a 6.3% increase in emerging market sales.
Last year saw a string of strategic acquisitions by the major consumer goods giant, which seemed to have a keen eye on continuing to boost its increasingly dominant presence in personal care. Find our roundup of these here.
In its full-year results statement, Unilever acknowledged the role this strategy of acquisitions has had on its overall performance.
“Personal Care continued to grow the core with a strong set of innovations, that included five new brand launches, while expanding the portfolio organically and through acquisitions in attractive segments and channels.
“This led to a broad-based improvement in volumes in the fourth quarter but growth for the full year was adversely affected by challenging market and competitive conditions, particularly in Brazil and Indonesia.”
Dove, Lifebouy and Hijab Fresh
Skin cleansing delivered good growth, helped by Dove shower foam, a new premium format that delivers an improved sensorial experience, and the roll-out of Baby Dove to 26 countries, the company says.
Lifebuoy with Activ Silver formula for enhanced germ-protection was rolled out across Asia, while Hijab Fresh, a new brand that provides a solution to the specific needs of the Muslim consumer, performed well.
Hair care & premium
In hair care, volume-led growth was driven by Sunsilk, helped by the global expansion into natural propositions, the company says, and by local launches such as Lux Botanifique in Japan.
Dollar Shave Club and the acquisitions in 2017 - Living Proof and Hourglass - grew at double-digit rates and will all contribute to underlying sales growth from twelve months after completion, states Unilever.
Meanwhile, Dermalogica and Kate Somerville performed well in the prestige business.