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PERSONAL CARE

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Untapped potential in the grocery aisle
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Nearly 70% of consumers say they don’t visit the personal care/health and beauty aisle when shopping at their traditional grocery stores

Suppliers of personal care (health and beauty) products say there are huge opportunities in grocery stores to build up the category.

An April 2024 survey from Acosta Group on health and beauty care and general merchandise sales in grocery states that close to 70% of consumers surveyed don’t typically visit the personal care, health and beauty products, general merchandise or household product departments and instead choose mass merchandising, with a smaller percentage purchasing these products online or at a drug store.

More importantly, close to 50% of shoppers say their negative perceptions of price and promotions at grocery stop them from shopping for personal care and general merchandise products frequently when making their food and beverage purchases.

An image of Florian Wolfram
Florian Wolfram

Florian Wolfram, general manager of Beiersdorf Canada, agrees the category is under-developed in Canada. “I’ve been in the business for 12 years in Europe and there is going to be huge growth in this category in the future.”

Wolfram says the self-care movement is a significant trend and bodes well for personal care products.

“People, especially younger generations, are more mindful about what they put on their body, so they’re looking for clean formulas, but at the same time, they’re looking at product efficacy; if it’s a moisturizing cream, it must also protect your skin from UV. If it’s a sunscreen, it must also provide antioxidants for the skin. This is in part tied to getting more value out of products for the money.”

By way of example, he cites a new face care product under the Nivea brand called Luminous, a dark spot removal serum that also brightens skin.

Iram Blajchman, CEO of Maverick Sales, a sales agency with a diverse portfolio that includes multiple personal care brands, adds that haircare and “skinification” are still emerging in mainstream channels, “but have become an important part of the personal care category.”

An image of Iram Blajchman
Iram Blajchman

One of the top trends he sees is around ingredients.

“Consumers have become more knowledgeable around what they put on their skin as they care for themselves. This parallels the trend of clean ingredients. And as ingredients have become more important, retailers have also leaned into the clean trend, with specific programs helping consumers make those choices. An example is the Thoughtful Choices program at Shoppers Drug Mart.”

Suppliers are also focusing more on products with sustainability messages and introducing innovations such as skin and facial creams containing no microplastics in the formulae and bottles made from recycled materials.

“Sustainability trends have been around for some time, but they are picking up even more now and we see sustainability claims on products becoming more important to consumers in Canada,” says Wolfram, adding that Beiersdorf’s claims of driving sustainability transformation are supported by the fact that for the second consecutive year, the company has received a “CDP Triple A” score. CDP is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes best practices of companies addressing environmental impacts through their value chains. “Beiersdorf was one of only 10 out of more than 21,000 companies worldwide to receive the top rating,” says Wolfram.

Blajchman adds that brands and retailers “are signaling they would like to make zero waste refills work, but the execution seems to be a barrier to this waste reduction strategy. There are some signs in packaging innovation; refills for soap is an example. Innovation in personal health is incredibly apparent, with ingredients leading much of it in this category.”

As with most categories, rising prices are influencing purchasing decisions, say suppliers.

“Price, whether it’s value call outs, size or lower pricing, continues to grow in importance as consumers’ wallets get thinner,” says Blajchman. “At the same time, with the exploding self-care movement, there are enough people with disposable incomes who will splurge on premium personal care products.”

As the personal care category grows and evolves in grocery, suppliers say retailers should pay more attention to the in-store experience.

Acosta Group Shopper Community study on health and beauty care (HBC) and general merchandise (GM), April 2024

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