Bath and shower as a whole as well as most of its categories continued to decline in 2019, with many areas continuing to see stagnating or even declining unit prices. However, bar soap and liquid soap will see strong growth in 2020, driven by frequent handwashing among consumers due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Nearly all products across bath and shower will record stronger forecast period CAGRs than they did in the historic period, with hygiene concerns remaining top of mind for consumers.
As in recent years, bath and shower sales in Western Europe continued to stagnate in 2019. The overall performance was in line with the slight decline seen in the biggest category, body wash/shower gel, with only intimate wipes, the smallest product area, recording positive growth. Over 2014-2019 as a whole, body wash/shower gel added the greatest amount of additional value, while bar soap and body powder, both seen as slightly old-fashioned, were losing sales.
Bar soap was one of the most dynamic bath and shower products in Germany in 2019, with value growth driven by consumers preferring higher-priced items. For example, recent formulas have tackled the issue of irritation of the skin by developing products that contribute to a balanced pH level. Frequently claimed as being environmentally friendlier in terms of its production, but especially when it comes to its packaging, this has been positively received among German consumers, as sustainability concerns increase steadily with each passing year.
There has been a visible trend towards natural, herbal and/or organic products across the region, with consumers becoming increasingly aware of the potential health risks of chemical ingredients in their bath and shower products. The trend has also been seen in private label lines, offering consumers natural products at accessible prices.
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 and bar soap sales will see very strong growth in 2020, with bath and shower as a whole outperforming 2014-2019 over the forecast period.
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