COVID-19 had a somewhat negative impact on the demand for depilatories in 2020, as fewer consumers left their homes to visit areas where smooth legs, in particular, are valued, such as the beach and the gym. Sales of depilatories were also impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19, as these products are non-essential.
Value sales of depilatories continued to be concentrated amongst three major players in 2020: Procter & Gamble Interamericas de Costa Rica (Gillette), Reckitt Benckiser Centroamerica (Veet) and Grupo Moreno (Satin Smooth and Beauty Image). Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser have been able to defend their positions though wide availability across grocery retailers and chemists/pharmacies.
The Bic brand and Wal-Mart’s private label line Equate remain the most relevant alternatives for most low- and middle-income consumers across the country, with the former seeing a slight increase in value share in 2020, as consumers traded down in order to save money. At the other end of the spectrum, specialised products in hair removers/bleaches in cream, gel and wax formats continue to characterise brands targeted towards higher-income women.
As the local economy begins to recover from the pandemic, development opportunities are expected for functional and more natural depilatories targeted at higher-income millennial consumers. The variety of products is still small in hair removers/bleaches at grocery outlets, and emergent foreign and domestic manufacturers are expected to focus on offering different types of functional, natural and organic ingredients capable of providing additional skin care benefits.
Demand for depilatories is expected to return in 2021, although current value growth is unlikely to recover to per-pandemic levels until midway through the forecast period. This is because depilatories are regarded by many consumers as non-essential and some will be unwilling or unable to buy depilatories as the economic situation remains so fragile.
As restrictions ease and the fear of contagion decreases, consumers are expected to return to their traditional hair removal methods, including hair removal procedures at hair salons. Higher quality expectations will lead to the further development of niche value formulations, increasing the overall fragmentation of depilatories.
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