In recent years personal care experts have been pointing to a gap in the market. They say that the baby and toddler market and the tween age groups are now well served for personal care products, but that the age group in between has largely been forgotten.
This has meant that older children have had to make do with either toddler products, or else have had to make the jump towards products aimed at more mature groups at an earlier stage.
Kimberly-Clark's new Cottenelle range is another product aimed at filling that gap, adding to a still small but growing category. The range targets parents wanting to teach their kids bathroom and hygeine habits, in a format that is kid-friendly.
The packaging features graphics with the brand's yellow Labrador puppy and an easy-to-use pop-up tub, that aims to make the learning process fun, while also encouraging children to use the correct amount of wipes to ensure that hygiene is maintained.
"The Cottonelle for Kids system addresses the unmet needs of families with kids ages 4 to 9 - an age group that has grown beyon brands associated with diapers and toilet training - but still needs help learning and reinforcing good hygiene habits in the bathroom," said Steve Kalmanson, group president, Kimberly-Clark North Atlantic Consumer Products.
Kalmanson says that the uquiness and added-value of this product comes from the fact that it offers both wet and drip wipes in one product, encouraging better hygiene habits than either dry or moist products on their own.
The flushable moist wipes have a watermelon scent and are available in a 42-sheet tub and 84-sheet refill package and will appear on US retail shelves this month.
Kimberly-Clark says that the need for this kind of product was born out of its own consumer research, which found that child perineal hygiene was a significant area of concern for parents with children in the target age group.
Of the 600 parents quizzed on the subject, 60 per cent said their 4 to 9 year-olds used too much wipes or toilet paper when using the bathroom.
Kimberly-Clark's launch goes head-to-head with P&G's Kandoo range. It started off as wet wipes for the post-toddler age group and its success has led to the launch of an all-in-one foaming bath and shampoo product at the end of last year.
Both Kimberly-Clark and P&G's efforts focus on a growing segment of the population in the US that has resulted from a small but sustained increase in the birth rate - growth that is expected to carry on for the next ten years.
In line with this sales of children's personal care products grew by a staggering 65 per cent between 1999 and 2005 to reach $300.3 million, while market reports specialist Research and Markets predicts that a 6.7 per cent increase in the birth rate up to 2010 is likely to fuel still further strong growth.