Whilst sales of bar soap saw a decline in 2017, liquid soaps category has grown steadily in the personal care market since last year and it has been a popular category for new product development especially in Americas. According to Mintel, Liquid soap is most active in Latin America (28%) and North America (26%) and steadily growing in Europe (16%), as more and more consumers are looking for more convenience associated with wellness and fitness trends in the upcoming years.
In addition, the Brazilian market offers the greatest opportunities due to high growth and high spend per capita and with the liquid category growing by 2% from 2016 and 2017 and valued at 658 million BRL. Meanwhile, in terms of sales, in 2017 the US Liquid Soap market alone was worth $1,126 million, the UK Liquid Soap market was worth £153.6 million and Australian market – au$132 million.
Consumers are generally looking for great cleansing properties in soap, shower and bath products and brands have continuously tried to offer great cleansing with added benefits, such as hydration leading the way. There is also a focus on offering more natural ingredients in liquid soaps with some differentiation in terms of textures, scents, skin benefits and even eco or convenience packaging.
Thinking about textures
Generally, the most dominant texture in shower products and liquid soap products is that of jelly. This is especially favoured in Europe, while liquid textures are most popular in Latin America: 16% of launches vs 2% globally, according to Mintel.
Similarly, texture innovations focusing on portability and convenience while concentrated formulations are still a niche in the shower and liquid soaps. However, there are emerging brands that offer more concentrated, gel-like liquid products with associated natural and eco-friendly benefits (e.g. the use of less plastic in the smaller packaging) and portability (e.g. lightweight and smaller pack sizes).
One great example of a concentrated liquid body wash is Yves Rocher I Love My Planet.
Similarly, travel and concentrated formulations can expand further and we will see more examples of new product development in this category in the near future with more and more consumers focusing on wellness.
Going Beyond Moisturising Claims
Moisturising claims are most active in liquid soap and shower products and as mentioned hydration is the most common claim used after cleansing.
To offer a bit of differentiation, some brands are tapping into the emerging trend of using plant/tree waters in skincare in order to provide even more healthy and moisturising benefits and naturalness. Two examples of these are Sarmance Loire Vineyards range of products using 30% vine/grape leaf water and Beyond the Remady line by from LG Household & Health Care containing 5 variants of moisturising, detoxing, skincare benefits etc.
Some brands also started offering a range of claims to provide intensive skincare, while encompassing local sourcing and technology developments mentioned in trends of 2018.
A great example of this is Apart Natural range of bath and liquid hand soaps by Global Cosmed in Poland offers 3 variants, which taps into ageing concerns and naturalness with a more innovative formula combining: hyaluronic acid, known as the elixir of youth; and plant stem cells. See example below:
Natural and Organic Claims Shift in Liquid Soaps
The popularity of natural and skin-friendly claims vary across the different personal care categories. Also, while natural personal care products have seen rapid growth in the past few years, botanical/herbal claims were slightly on the decrease.
There is a call for more innovation in this area, and brands started using emerging environmentally friendly and vegan claims. This doesn’t come as a surprise as the sustainability trend is affecting the whole personal care market.
It is also interesting to see the growth of Ayurveda principles highlighted as part of the wellness theme breaking into beauty and emerging in shower and liquid products. Tesori d’Oriente Ayurveda fragrance, bath and shower collection is a great example of products inspired by the principles of Ayurveda.
Packaging can also play a key role and is a big driver associated with environmental awareness. There are more and more brands taking a more innovative approach and thinking about the solutions. Seed Phytonutrients Exfoliating Hand Wash packaging really stands out from the crowd with 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
Facial Skincare Positioning Claims Can Expand
Both liquid and bar soap formats can also take advantage of marketing facial skincare benefits given high usage of soap as a facial cleanser, and consumer interest in products that address concerns such as oiliness, black spots and acne. Similarly, with increased pollution in our environments more advanced skincare claims are also becoming more common e.g anti-pollution or anti-bluelight.
To note, 48% of Brazilians use soap (bar and liquid) as a facial skincare product, thus liquid products with additional ingredients for skincare benefits would be highly appealing. Additionally, make-up removing claims mostly appear outside of Latin America, whether it is liquid or solid soap bars.
Stephenson Liquid Soap Bases
Stephenson offers a range of liquid soap bases with high cleansing and moisturising properties. Our Liquid 105 Soap base is naturally moisturising and can also be thickened by salt to provide more gel-like texture and our Liquid Soap 100 or Liquid Soap 101 are highly active cleansing bases and can help to create more concentrated formulations for liquid products. If you want to enquire about these products or need more information, please contact us here.