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Premiumisation of Toothpaste Packaging: A Global Trend

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With rising disposable incomes and greater awareness of dental hygiene globally, toothpaste packaging is witnessing strong volume growth, benefiting both volume sales of squeezable plastic tubes and folding carton. In 2016, units of toothpaste in plastic tubes account for 11.4 billion, a 1.6 billion increase on 2011. Meanwhile, the trend towards more premium products and packaging continues to gain ground in the global toothpaste market, as consumers are seeking more targeted solutions, which in turns leads to higher unit prices worldwide.

Top 30 Toothpaste Packaging Markets in 2016: Unit Volume vs. Value Growth %CAGR 2016-2021

Source: Euromonitor International

Growing toothpaste sophistication

Emerging regions are expected to generate largest volume gains over 2016-2021 with Asia Pacific confirming its lead, while Latin America further consolidates its second place. During that period, both regions are forecast to contribute to 82% of global unit volume growth of toothpaste packaging.

While on one hand, volumes of toothpaste packaging are growing due to more consumers embarking on an oral care routine, value is also expected to increase as a rising number of consumers are demanding more advanced and targeted oral care products. In fact, value CAGR over 2016-2021 is expected to exceed volumes in most countries, as shown on the graph, indicating higher unit prices globally.

In Argentina, higher toothpaste unit prices are due to the high inflation in the country. However, in other developing countries such as Turkey or Indonesia, higher unit prices stem from rising urbanisation alongside with higher disposable income which are leading to a growing consumer demand for more sophisticated – and therefore more expensive - toothpastes.

For instance, in Turkey, the demand for toothpastes offering targeted solutions for enamel protection, whitening, cavity protection, sensitivity or stain removal increased in the past years. In 2016, Procter & Gamble Tuketim Mallari launched Ipana 3 D White Luxe Perfection in Turkey (an oral care set that contains a whitening accelerator, a whitening toothpaste and toothbrush) to respond to this demand.

Innovations to sustain higher unit prices

In developed regions, where unit volumes of oral care packaging tend to stagnate, consumers are however boosting expenditure on more advanced, premium toothpaste. In terms of packaging, this results in smaller pack sizes overall as specialised toothpastes typically come in plastic tubes of75ml, while regular or economy-sized toothpastes are generally available in plastic tubes of 100ml or 125ml.

Innovation remains essential to support higher unit prices, particularly in more mature developed regions. As a result, brand owners are responding to the rising demand for targeted solutions with products offering further segmentation, such as children’s toothpaste. In 2016, Sanofi launched its brand ACT, a toothpaste which aims at children from 2 years old. The product comes in a colorful squeezable plastic tube, available in fruit punch and bubble gum flavors.

Another example of product expansion launched in France in 2016 is by Colgate Palmolive with its Colgate Max Fresh in a new Ice Tea version. While claiming the same benefits than the original Max Fresh, the toothpaste also offers a unique new flavor.

Finally, Unilever chose a new packaging for its Signal White Now brand in 2016. The folding carton presents a shiny finish and a large PET windows with a clear view of the plastic tube inside. While conveying premium image to the product and therefore to the brand, the new packaging also helps the product stand out on shelves.

Globally, unit prices are predicted to continue to grow over 2016-2021 as consumers switch to more sophisticated toothpastes. In this context, innovation in terms of product and packaging will remain key to maintain consumer’s interest. Both primary and secondary packaging are essential as they convey the brand image while giving greater shelf visibility to attract consumers’ attention.

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