Bath and shower continued to grow in 2019, driven by body wash/shower gel, liquid soap and intimate washes, with bar soap recording stagnating sales. However, bar soap and, in particular, liquid soap have seen sales driven by frequent handwashing among consumers in 2020 due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). While liquid soap, body wash/shower gel and intimate washes, will continue driving growth in the remainder of the forecast period, bar soap will see declining annual sales from 2021.
As in the rest of the historic period, bath and shower in Asia Pacific saw positive growth in 2019. The most dynamic sales increases were in intimate washes and liquid soap, although body wash/shower gel generated the most additional sales. Bar soap in India also remained a major sales driver in 2014-2019.
The all-important markets in India and China, which account for half of overall regional sales, continue to see a positive development. In India, rural consumers are becoming ever more aware of the importance of good hygiene, which is offering players significant growth opportunities. In China, increasing penetration continues to be seen in lower-tier cities and, with incomes rising, consumers continue to shift away from basic bar soap towards products such as liquid soap and intimate washes.
There has been a visible trend towards products containing natural or herbal ingredients across the region, with consumers becoming increasingly aware of the potential health risks of chemical ingredients in their bath and shower products. There has even been a backlash against the amount of plastic packaging used in some of the products in this market, such as liquid soap or body wash/shower gel, although, as with the search for natural/herbal products, this does tend to generally be among the better-off consumer group.
With frequent and thorough handwashing recommended to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and the great importance placed on hygiene levels in general in the presence of the pandemic, liquid soap sales will see very strong growth in 2020, given this product area also includes hand sanitisers. Bath and shower as a whole will continue to see positive annual growth rates in 2019-2024 overall.
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