In Kantar Worldpanel’s recently published 2020 Brand Footprint report, Nivea ranked as the number-one most chosen beauty and personal care brand in Europe – significantly ahead of Colgate that secured the top spot globally for the category. In Europe, Nivea was bought by more than 50% of households, far more than any beauty and personal care brand in the region and only matched by Coca-Cola.
Behind Nivea and Colgate, the next eight most-chosen beauty and personal brands in Europe were: Dove, Garnier, Always, Gillette, Rexona, Oral-B, Palmolive and Schwarzkopf.
Globally, Nivea ranked seventh, though Kantar Worldpanel said Nivea was one of just four fast-moving-consumer-good (FMCG) brands worldwide that had consistently increased the number of times it was chosen each year.
Longer-term growth, heritage skin care status
So, how and why had Nivea secured such consistent growth and continue to win over more than half of Europe’s households?
That was thanks to its heritage status and expansion beyond skin care, said Benjamin Cawthray, global thought leadership director at Kantar’s Worldpanel division.
“Nivea has done well longer term. It is a skin care brand first and foremost – that’s its heritage – but what the brand has done as well is extended into deodorants and it’s done that successfully, and I think that was behind a lot of its growth,” Cawthray told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
Speaking to Kantar Worldpanel as part of the 2020 Brand Footprint report, Dr. Martin Bergmann, head of global Nivea brand health tracking, mirrored these sentiments. Bergmann said that whilst Nivea was “the inventor of contemporary skin care”, the brand had continued to succeed because it was built on “two strategic pillars” – consistency and innovation.
Nivea, he said, had maintained its origins in skin care through its flagship Nivea Crème product but also extended into new categories with “disruptive innovations” that pivoted on the company’s in-depth understanding of the skin.
Nivea expanded ‘beyond Europe’ into new markets
Cawthray said Nivea’s household penetration in Europe was “impressive” but it had also gained important traction beyond its home market during 2019, notably in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, especially Brazil, contributing to the brand’s overall 0.2% global growth in 2019. Nivea’s household penetration, globally, now stood at 24.5%.
“You can see that from a global level, their strategy is to enter new markets,” he said. “…So, they’ve expanded beyond Europe where they are strong and, in fact, in Latin America now they are also bought by over 50% of households too.”
However, Cawthray said it was important to note that despite clear global gains in 2019, Nivea registered a net decline in consumer reach points across Europe. This weaker performance, he said, had been dragged down by a loss of shoppers in the UK and France and counterbalanced by gains made in Germany, where Nivea “grew impressively” and was now bought by over 60% of households.
“The global brand challenge is always hard because when you’re playing in 40 or so markets, you’re never going to win in every market. So, it’s striking that right balance of where the focus is,” he said.
In the 2020 Brand Footprint report, Kantar Worldpanel said that despite this European slowdown for Nivea, the brand’s repeated growth “should be celebrated as a remarkable achievement”.
Other stand-out brands in Europe? Oral-B one to watch
Beyond Nivea’s continued success as the most chosen beauty and personal care brand in Europe, Cawthray said there were some other stand-outs that had shown impressive gains in the region.
Proctor & Gamble’s Oral B brand, he said, had performed particularly well across Europe, growing with an overall consumer reach point growth of 4% – the highest growth in Europe’s top ten most chosen beauty and personal care brands list.
Asked if Oral-B could be a competing brand for a European top spot in the future, Cawthray said: “Definitely. Within Europe, it’s still quite a way off the size of Colgate (…) but it had a very good performance. Within the health and beauty brands category, Oral-B also saw one of the biggest penetration gains in Europe.” Household penetration in Europe was up 0.7%, with the brand now bought by 26% of households. This compared to Colgate’s household penetration of 49%.
For Colgate, Cawthray said there were still gains to be made and the brand had invested in plenty of innovation recently to secure future growth, from charcoal pastes to premium and eco-friendly variants. “Colgate has not reached its peak penetration because there’s still headroom for more buyers, there always is.”
‘Watch out for’ private label gains in Europe too
Cawthray said it would also be worth keeping a close eye on private label beauty and personal care brands in Europe over the coming year, particularly as the market entered a regional-wide recession due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
“As coronavirus lockdowns ease, we probably will see a rise in discounters again and, as we saw a few years ago, the discounters have some strong beauty brands of their own. So, I think that’s going to be a ‘watch out for’ this year, as well as the local brands entering in from Asia.”