Last week, Beiersdorf reported full year (FY) 2021 sales of €7.6bn, up 9.7% on the previous year, with net profit sitting at €699m. Within this, the company’s flagship brand Nivea reported organic sales growth of 5.5% for the year – growth largely fuelled by innovation successes. Beiersdorf said the 2020 launch of its Nivea Luminous630 range had bolstered sales worldwide, particularly in Europe, with its serum and face cream formulated using a patented active ingredient to reduce pigment and age spots.
Speaking during Beiersdorf’s FY 2021 earnings call, company CFO Astrid Hermann said: “The transformation of our iconic brand is progressing well. We have made Nivea one of the fastest-growing brands in face care in the mass market.”
‘We want to reinvent our flagship brand’
Vincent Warnery, CEO of Beiersdorf, added that “further development” of the Nivea brand was a core focus for the company over the next financial year.
“We have a clearly defined goal at Nivea. We want to reinvent our flagship brand as a leading global skin care brand,” Warnery said.
“…I’m am convinced that the future of the brand, and the path of the brand, is much more in skin care, in face care, than in, for example, personal care.” Investment in Nivea shower and soap products, for example, was not a priority area for Beiersdorf in the months ahead, he said.
The 2021 appointment of Grita Loebsack as president of Nivea was one important shift in achieving such change for the brand, he said, aiming to make the business “even more global, digital and sustainable”. Beiersdorf was also introducing a new operating model for Nivea, following on from successes across Eucerin, La Prairie and Hansaplast.
“We are beginning to take a more global approach to product launches and marketing campaigns for Nivea ranges. We want to implement fewer but better and larger product launches and campaigns. In specific terms, this means that in the future, innovations and campaigns will generally be implemented in all markets that are relevant for us,” Warnery said.
And digitalisation would play a “key role” in these efforts, he said, as Beiersdorf worked to strengthen Nivea’s brand positioning, both offline and online, via precision marketing campaigns. Particular focus, he said, would be paid to driving brand equity in the US and China.
Expanding Luminous630 – eyes on China
Moving forward, the CEO said Beiersdorf would continue to build on the success of its Luminous630 anti-pigment range – the “most expensive product” in Nivea’s entire assortment at around €20 per SKU.
“We will expand this range in the hand care and sun care segments. And I have also a very promising launch into the eye category. Our aim is to double sales of the range this year and thereby expand growth in the face care segment and broaden our market leadership beyond Europe,” Warnery said.
Beiersdorf also hoped to complete registration of Nivea Luminous630’s active patented ingredient W630 in China – a move that should create “significant growth potential” given the country was the world’s largest face care market.
Asked by an analyst if tightened consumer budgets post-COVID might impact traction and growth of Nivea worldwide, Warnery said the company may face some issues for some of the range, but strong uptake of the Luminous630 products priced at around four-times the cost of regular Nivea moisturisers indicated consumer appetite and willingness to follow innovations. “We believe that, especially in those new categories which are the priority for the brand – face care, sun care – we have some opportunity to increase our penetration despite increased prices.”
Nivea Soft climate-neutral launch in 2022
Warnery said Beiersdorf would also continue to invest further in sustainable innovation across Nivea, following on from the successful launch of its first climate-neutralised product last year. The Nivea Naturally Good face care range had been packed in renewable plastic jars made from by-product oils from the forestry industry – a “lighthouse in the context of material reduction”, he said. The launch had proven especially successful in France, he said, where its ‘green’ status on the widely used sustainability app Yuka had been a hit with beauty consumers.
“We plan to extend our lightweight packaging approach to other assortments this year,” he said.
Beiersdorf would also continue working to reduce overall CO2 emissions by “revamping” existing and popular products, the CEO said, starting with the relaunch of Nivea Soft as a climate-neutral product later this year. The company had reformulated the product, “changing some critical ingredients”, he said, and worked to reduce plastic in the packaging
“…We see clearly, especially for the young targets, especially for Europe, that this appeal for sustainable products is really bringing a lot of new consumers and a much better equity to the Nivea brand.”