For the first half of 2023, the Unilever Group saw underlying sales growth of 9.1%, which was mainly driven by inflationary price increases, with just 0.2% from volume sales.
The company shared that volumes were virtually flat, as “underlying price growth has sequentially moderated from 13.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022”.
The group turnover increased by 2.7% to €30.4bn. For the Beauty & Wellbeing division, turnover reached €6.2bn, up 8.6% on 2022, and for Personal Care it stood at €6.9bn, up 7.3% on 2022.
Beauty & Wellbeing: 3.8% increase in volume sales
The Beauty & Wellbeing division accounted for 20% of the group turnover and underlying sales grew by 9.1%, much of which was driven by inflationary price increases. However, volume sales were up by 3.8% for the first half of 2023.
Hair Care grew high single-digit with positive volume growth driven by the Americas. The mass brands Sunsilk and TRESemmé both delivered double-digit growth, which was boosted by successful relaunches.
Core Skin Care grew in mid-single digits. The Vaseline brand saw a strong performance, which Unilever attributes to extending the successful Gluta-Hya range into the pro-age segment, which offered additional benefits and brought new consumers to the brand.
In North Asia, sales of AHC saw a double-digit decline as Unilever reset the cross-border channel.
The Prestige Beauty and Health & Wellbeing sectors delivered another period of volume-led, double-digit growth.
In Prestige, Paula’s Choice, Dermalogica and Hourglass all saw strong growth, supported by new science-led product launches such as Dermalogica’s phyto nature oxygen cream.
In Health & Wellbeing, Liquid IV continued to perform well, and the company launched three sugar-free variants of its hydration technology,
Personal care: 3.2% increase in volume sales
In the Personal Care division, which accounts for 23% of the group turnover, underlying sales were up by 10.8%, again mainly driven by price increases. However, 3.2% was from volume growth.
Deodorants saw especially strong sales for the first half of 2023. The category delivered high double-digit figures driven by the European and the Americas markets. Unilever attributed the boosted sales volumes to a "recovery in service levels and associated pipeline fill."
Axe grew by double-digits with a new Fine Fragrance range roll-out. Rexona also grew by double digits, as Unilever had launched new product variants that built on its 72-hour technology.
Skin Cleansing grew in high single-digits and experienced strong growth in Latin America and South Asia. While Oral Care also saw high single-digit growth as the company relaunched Pepsodent in South East Asia.
And finally, the Dove portfolio also saw double-digit growth.
At the start of July, new CEO Hein Schumacher took the reins from Alan Jope, who had led the company for five years. Going forward, Schumacher said he intended to leverage Unilever’s core strengths to drive improved performance and competitiveness. “This is our absolute priority and it will mean bringing greater focus and sharper execution, with science-backed innovations and investment behind our brands,” he said.