Beauty brand growth centres on staying strong in ‘key markets’, says Kantar Worldpanel exec

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Exemplary brands that have maintained strong performances in key markets are Lifebuoy, Dove and Dettol - helping overall growth and strength worldwide [Getty Images]
Exemplary brands that have maintained strong performances in key markets are Lifebuoy, Dove and Dettol - helping overall growth and strength worldwide [Getty Images]

Related tags: Kantar, kantar worldpanel, Beauty brands, Personal care brands, Lifebuoy, Dettol, Dove, online retail

Global brand growth in beauty and personal care requires strong and consistent performances in key, number one markets first and foremost, says the global thought leadership director at Kantar Worldpanel.

Last month, Kantar released its annual Worldpanel Brand Footprint report, ranking Colgate, Lifebuoy and Dove the most chosen beauty and personal care brands in the world for 2021​. And amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the report also identified the rising importance of hygiene-first brands, with Lifebuoy and Dettol ranked two of the fastest-growing brands in the world across the entire FMCG category.

Brand learnings from an ‘extraordinary year’

Overall, 2020 – the analysis period for the 2021 Worldpanel Brand Footprint – had proven to be an “extraordinary year”​ for value growth among brands, said Benjamin Cawthray, global thought leadership director at Kantar Worldpanel.

During the 52-week period ending October 2020, growth in value terms across the entire fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) category was up 10% as consumers transferred out-of-home consumption to in-home. And the 2021 Brand Footprint report showed 53% of brands had grown value-wise worldwide, versus just 47% the previous year.

“It may not sound like much, but that’s a 6% upswing,”​ Cawthray told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

Whilst growth was far stronger outside of health and beauty, he said there was still impressive performances amongst some of the leading brands in this category.

So, what exactly were the key learnings from brands leading the way in beauty and personal care?

‘Think about your number-one market, always’

Cawthray said: “If you’re thinking of health and beauty brands and looking at performance, always go back to where your key markets are.”

The brands that had performed best in the 2021 Brand Footprint – Lifebuoy and Dettol – performed really well in India this past year, he said, a market that could be considered key for both of them. By contrast, Nivea, a long-time strong performer with eight years of consistent growth, struggled this year because of a poorer performance in its largest market Germany, he said.

“There’s two aspects: look to grow your penetration but then think about where to focus; think about your number one market, always.”

“…The mix of looking after ‘home’ whilst seeking growth opportunities in new regions is a fine balance to get right but if you can maintain your home performance, then the real strong growth will come from expanding elsewhere. But it’s very hard to do. If you expand elsewhere and lose a lot of share in your biggest market, the net result will be decline,” ​Cawthray said.

Dove, another strong performer in health and beauty and one of only three brands that had grown in every edition of Brand Footprint since its inception, had proven the importance of getting this delicate balance right, he said.

“Dove is the third most-chosen health and beauty brand and I was impressed with their performance given the slowdown of what we class as more beauty-focused brands. What they’ve managed to do well is grow in their three biggest markets. Whilst they’ve seen decline in others, they’ve still seen growth in India, really strong growth in the USA and still saw growth in Brazil. Those are their three biggest markets and they saw growth in all three, which was remarkable.”

Online power not to be overlooked

Cawthray said as health and beauty brands looked to shape future growth strategies, online also warranted a closer look.

“Online has been one of the key drivers for growth for health and beauty, and that’s partly driven by what’s happening in Asia. Online is really strong for China and South Korea which are two key markets for the health and beauty sector,”​ he said.

And whilst online offered worldwide opportunities for beauty brands, he said Europe was particularly interesting given it was far from saturated because European consumers tended to still prefer in-store beauty shopping.

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