Expert Insights: Bath  10/19/2015

Sophisticated, quality products at value pricing are what consumers are demanding. For example, look at the success of L Brand’s, Bath & Body Works as a proven case study. According to Forbes, Bath & Body Works is the number one brand in America for body lotion, shower gel, fine fragrance mist, liquid hand soap, hand sanitizer, spa, and aromatherapy. Bath & Body Works consistently churns out seasonal, on-trend fragrances and collections. In the winter, expect to see fragrance collections such as “Winter Citrus Wreath”, “Fresh Balsam”, and “Vanilla Bean Noel” line the shelves. In the fall, shelves transition to carrying collections such as “Apple Harvest”, “Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin”, and trendy scents such as “Sweater Weather” and “Tailgate”. Getting into summer months, there is no shortage of consistent product innovation; new for 2015 included “Tahiti Island Dream” and Hawaii collections with product names such as “Oahu Coconut Sunset” and “Maui Mango Surf”. Customers have been trained to expect constant product innovation by season which can be tested – either by in-store sampling or by trial purchases, which are abundantly merchandized near the registers. 

In addition to the ever-changing seasonal scents, the retailer offers almost daily promotions whether it is in store or sent via email blast to their customer base. Signage is prevalent and draws customers in where sampling is encouraged. Each season brings a new retail atmosphere with fall foliage adorning displays and seasonal signage drawing in customers closer to engage with products.

If the success of Bath & Body Works has shown us anything it is that customers want innovation and trendy scents. While scents such as coconut, lavender, and even apple still top the charts as top trending fragrances, according to Datamonitor, the majority of consumers often or sometimes experiment with new and unusual scents mostly motivated by curiosity. One brand that is standing out from the rest in the UK is Original Source. Found in UK retailers such as Boots, Superdrug, and Tesco, Original Source has brought scents such as “Lemon & Chili” hair and body gel, “Liquorice” body scrub, and “Strawberry & Pink Peppercorn” shower gel to the market. In addition to their unique product offering and distinguished packaging, Original Source is capturing consumers’ hearts with their commitment to staying natural; products are made with natural plant extracts and authentic fragrances. Products are made with no animal ingredients and are Vegan trademarked.

Store brands have also evolved their offerings over the years to align with the natural, better-for-you products consumers are seeking. Wegmans launched their Wegmans Organic bath and body line this fall after three years of development. The line is a collection of USDA-certified organic body washes, lotions and creams. The line is cruelty free, free from pesticides, and made with organic ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E. Products are gluten-free, vegan, and free from artificial ingredients. Products are available in signature scents such as Lavender, Sparkling Citrus, Coconut Lemongrass and Fresh Herbs. Products are retailing for under $8 which is great for a category in which consumers are so price sensitive due to the high fragmentation of available product substitutes.

Another best in class store brand example comes from Canadian retailer Rexall and their exclusive Be. better brand. This brand was launched across multiple categories in early 2013 and is positioned to help consumers live, feel and be better. The Be. better beauty products are enriched with natural ingredients and are paraben-free. All Be. better hair care products are positioned as salon-quality products that are also free of SLS/SLES. Some products even feature luxurious, trending natural oils such as Coconut Oil, Argan Oil or Macadamia Nut, and are omnipresent in Rexall stores. Products are merchandized in multiple placements around the stores such as on special display end caps and are also featured in additional signage promoting the brand.

Because most U.S. consumers already have a high household usage for regular bath and shower products, there is little room for drastically increased product consumption and extreme growth within the category. The bath additives sub-category, which contains products such as bath oils and Epsom/bath salts, are viewed as luxuries as opposed to necessities and have helped drive overall growth within the category. While bath products are typically mainstream functional and focus on scent variety, the performance benefits of bath additives focus on physiological benefits such as stress relief, body detox, and muscle soreness relief and appear to be resonating with some consumers as seen by the sub-category’s double-digit growth in 2014. These spa-like luxuries, more natural and better-for-you offerings, and innovative scents at a mass, affordable price point are necessary for brands to maintain and grow their shares in the category. 

For more information, please contact Alyssa Riccardelli at

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Bath & Body Works in-store signage is designed to draw in customers.
At Bath & Body Works each season brings a new retail atmosphere with fall foliage and seasonal signage to draw in customers.
Original Source is capturing consumers’ hearts with their commitment to staying natural.
Wegmans launched their Wegmans Organic bath and body line this fall after three years of development.
Rexall's Be. better brand launched in early 2013 and is positioned to help consumers live, feel and be better.
Be. Better is merchandised in multiple places around the store like on special displays and end caps.

Alyssa Riccardelli

Category Business Manager, Health & Beauty
Daymon Worldwide, Inc.

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