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Personal Care & Household Cleaning Products Industry Profile
The consumer non-durables industry sector produces household products (laundry detergent, cleaners, diapers) and personal care items (hair care, cosmetics, toothpaste). Both industries are made up of companies that sell their products to drug and grocery stores, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, and specialty retailers. Worldwide, consumers spend about $120 billion on these everyday items, with the US accounting for about 25% of the total. Big-name companies, such as The Clorox Company and Kimberly-Clark, represent the household industry; L'Oréal, The Estée Lauder Companies, and Shiseido Company are some of the personal care industry's key players.

Procter & Gamble (Crest, Tide, Head & Shoulders) and Unilever (Close-Up, Q-Tips, Vaseline) control more than one-third of the global market. Both companies count on North America and industrialized Europe for the bulk of their sales -- about $80 billion annually combined. (Both companies also participate in other industries; household non-durables account for a significant portion of each company's annual sales.)

Although the populations in the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan consume the vast majority of household and personal care products, companies are being forced to look beyond those markets for growth. A slowdown in population growth and market saturation have reduced growth potential in these traditionally targeted national markets and increased the perceived value of global brands. Procter & Gamble and Unilever are leaders in the push toward global brands, but other companies are getting into the act. Cosmetics firm Avon Products (Anew, Color Trend), for example, increased its lineup of global brands from 10% of its total to more than 50% in less than a decade, primarily by increasing its global advertising and focusing on cross-cultural appeal.

Other companies have been hoping new products will provide growth. The Gillette Company (Oral-B, Gillette Sensor, Right Guard) spent $750 million to successfully introduce its Mach3 razor. Proctor & Gamble's introduction of Febreze created a new product category, fabric refreshener, which is expected to become a billion dollar market. However, the new product option is a risky one -- only 15% of new products make it in the consumer market.

The everyday nature of the products within the industry makes household non-durables a fairly stable one. However, Wal-Mart Stores, and companies like it, may present something of a wildcard. As Wal-Mart and its brethren expand internationally, their demand for global brands will grow. Companies that lag behind in their global brand holdings will suffer. Wal-Mart is also beefing up its private-label offerings, limiting the availability of shelf space for other companies' products. Unilever and Procter & Gamble may come to see Wal-Mart not only as a customer, but also as a competitor. They are large enough to withstand the competition, but there won't be enough room for everybody.

Top Personal Care & Household Cleaning Products Makers by Sales
1. Unilever
2. The Procter & Gamble Company (PG)
3. Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB)
4. L'Oréal SA
5. Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL)
6. The Gillette Company (G)
7. Kao Corporation
8. Avon Products, Inc. (AVP)
9. Reckitt Benckiser plc
10. Shiseido Company, Limited (SSDOY)
Key People
Antony Burgmans and Niall W. A. FitzGerald - The two co-chairmen have their hands full running corporate behemoth Unilever; the challenge lies in competing against smaller, more maneuverable organizations.
Andrea Jung - As CEO of Avon Products, the dynamic Ms. Jung is making over the company she was groomed to lead.
James Kilts - The Gillette Company turned to Kilts, a company outsider and the man responsible for turning around RJR Nabisco, to energize its Duracell battery divison and boost the company's dismal overall performance.
A. G. Lafley - CEO of Procter & Gamble; ex -CEO Dirk Jager's brave attempt to modernize P&G failed to yield quick results; Lafley is plotting a more conservative course.
The Lauder Family - Leonard Lauder is now chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies, which his family founded in 1944.
Associations & Organizations
A.I.S.E. (International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products)
Consumer Specialty Products Association
Cosmetic Executive Women
The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association
Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors
The Soap and Detergent Association
UK Cleaning Products Industry Association
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