The proportion of Australians who buy soap in an average four-week period has shrunk almost 10% over the last five years, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.
After four consecutive annual declines, now just 52.8% of Australians (14+) said they purchased bath or toilet soap in an average four weeks in the year to June 2014, down from 58.6% in 2010.
In the declining market, Dove has managed to maintain a purchase level of around 1 in 8 Australians—and holding steady has been enough to overtake Palmolive as the country’s most popular soap in the past year. Palmolive has declined from 13.9% in 2010 to 11.9% now, with only half a percentage point in it for the lead.
Of the top five brands, Country Life has suffered the biggest decline over the period, from 10.2% in 2010 to 6.9% now. However it remains in third place, ahead of Imperial Leather (5.1%, down 1.5% points) and Lux (4.2%, down 1% point).
The combined penetration of Supermarket brands, however, has grown every year since 2010. These are now purchased by 6.4% of Australians in an average four week period (up 1% point).
% of Australians who purchased soap brands in last four weeks
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2009–June 2014, average annual sample =18,912 Australians 14+.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Although fewer Australians are regularly buying soap, there has been some growth in the proportion purchasing shower gel or body wash, while liquid hand wash has been fairly steady over the last few years.
“In the declining soap market, purchasing of nearly all brands, excluding supermarkets’ own, has fallen over the past five years. Only a few of the smaller players are up or steady, including Neutrogena, Nivea, Priya and Simple.
“Of the top five brands, only Dove has increased its penetration among soap buyers during the period. Supermarkets’ own brands are performing strongly: combined, they have increased their presence each year since 2010, now being the fourth most popular soap behind Country Life.
“Among soap-buyers, men are more likely than women to put a supermarket brand in the trolley. However, it is worth noting that although there are clear differences in the brands men and women prefer, the greater difference is often about marital status: single people of either sex are more likely to buy Lux, Dettol, Simple, Nivea or Neutrogena and less likely to buy Country Life, Cussons Pure, Pears, Natural Selections or Sunlight/Velvet Personal than people who are partnered.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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