Sector Insight: Deodorants and body sprays

Brands are adding fragrances and formulations to attract young consumers and over-65s and counter a predicted slide in sales value, writes Jane Bainbridge.

Lynx's high-profile ads help Unilever dominate
Lynx's high-profile ads help Unilever dominate

While factors such as heatwaves and exercise increase people's use of deodorants, in a sector that has almost total penetration, sales are relatively robust.

In 2010, £548m-worth of sales were achieved, according to Mintel. The market has made very modest, but steady gains in the past few years and grew by 1% in 2010. This level of growth is similar to that seen in other personal care categories where penetration is very high, such as shampoo.

The vast majority of the most determinedly ungroomed of men still buy a certain number of toiletries: soap, toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant are the essentials for most people.

Eight out of 10 adults apply deodorant daily, with women slightly more conscientious users (94%) than men (87%), according to TGI.

With most products clearly aimed at either men or women it is not just the types of scent and packaging used that differentiate the choice of the genders. Men prefer spray formats, while the balance between sprays and roll-ons is almost equal for women. Sales of roll-on products account for less than a third of the value of aerosol formats across the sector.

The highest-volume users are teenage girls, young adults and 25- to 44-year-old men (TGI). In general, deodorant use decreases with age, with the over-65s the lowest-volume users. The ageing population is, therefore, some cause for concern for brands in this sector.

However some manufacturers are recognising the need to target older users. One example is Unilever's Dove, which has added spray and roll-ons to its Pro-Age range positioned as being specially formulated for ageing skin.

The leading manufacturers in this sector are the usual suspects from the toiletries giants: Unilever, Beiersdorf, Procter & Gamble and L'Oreal are all among the top players.

Unilever is by far the most-dominant manufacturer, with the Sure, Dove and Lynx brands in its portfolio. A committed advertiser, its products have a high level of recognition and it has carved out very specific brand positionings for each of its lines.

Consumers spend slightly more on male deodorants and body sprays than women's. This is in no small part a result of the strength of Lynx, which has established itself with its irreverent advertising personality as the brand of choice for teenagers and young men. The steady addition of new fragrance variants and witty TV and cinema ads championing 'The Lynx effect' line have kept the brand fresh.

Beiersdorf's Nivea and Henkel's Right Guard are the most notable non-Unilever brands. Nivea for Men sponsors the England football team, providing sporting credentials particularly useful to brands in the deodorant category. Last year it added Polar Blue spray to its Nivea for Men Silver Protect range and an antiperspirant roll-on to its Calm & Care offering, designed for use after shaving.

Henkel introduced Right Guard Xtreme Silver in April 2010, highlighting its anti-bacterial qualities. This product is aimed at combating the bacteria on skin that digest sweat and which cause body odour.

Procter & Gamble's Gillette and Old Spice brands have extensions in the deodorant and body-spray market as well as producing Lacoste and Hugo Boss under licence.

There are several smaller brands at the natural end of the market which all added launches to their ranges last year such as Melvita, Dr.Hauschka, L'Occitane en Provence and Australian brand Sukin Organics.

The concentration of NPD in this category has been on spray formats, with long-lasting formulations among the most popular (eight out of 10 product launches). New products aimed at men also outweighed those for women in 2010, according to Mintel GNPD.

With shopper behaviour increasingly entrenched in price promotions and the use of offers to stock up on their favourite deodorants, building value in the sector is difficult.

By 2015, sales are expected to reach £581m, up 6% on 2010, according to Mintel. With inflation this equates to an 11% decline over the period.