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Multi-functional products freshen the U.S. oral care market as sales approach $5bn

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 25-Feb-2013

The oral care market freshened up 2012 with U.S. retail sales approaching $5 billion as consumers pay more attention to health concerns, as well as striving for whiter teeth and fresher breath.

According to Oral Care Products in the U.S., 8th Edition, a just-released study from market research firm Packaged Facts, sales of over-the-counter oral care products reached $4.9 million in 2012, up 2.2 percent from 2011 sales.

In the oral care market, the research firm notes that health concerns are the number one driver of sales; with consumers also looking to whiten their teeth and freshen their breath.

Multiple benefits

“If a product can do all three, all the better: products that provide multiple benefits are proving to be the most attractive to consumers, as they are more convenient and affordable than the alternative of having to purchase multiple product types,” says the report.

“Similarly, marketers looking to spur sales in several categories have had success with ‘product suites,’ groupings of products presented as a complete oral care package, which encourages consumers to remain brand-loyal. “

The at-home trend sweeping the personal care market also extends to oral care, as the ability to achieve professional results without the expense and time of a dental office visit is another powerful product positioning, says David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts.

Looking ahead

By 2017, Packaged Facts projects that retail sales of oral care products will approach $6 billion, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of approximately 4 percent, thanks to the increased appeal of multi-function products, and professional quality products, on top of market gains stimulated by the growing Hispanic population and the aging Baby Boomer market.

The research firm comments that the annual percentage gains could be higher if oral care marketers are able to produce exceptional ingredient developments or research findings, or are able to develop new product lines that address previously underserved dental conditions, such as dental care for diabetics.

“Conversely, this generally mature market could see sales slip should consumers ignore the growing focus on oral care and overall health, or should another economic downturn affect their willingness to spend on personal care items that are not seen as a necessary part of their health regimens,” it concludes.

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