The Health and Beauty category offers huge untapped sales potential to retailers, especially as research suggests the majority of consumers don’t know their local stores stock the same high-profi le brands to be found in a chemist or salon. Asian Trader reports.

While most shoppers will do the bulk of their grooming purchasing at supermarkets, salons, chemists and beauty shops, the category remains an important fixture for convenience stores for a number of reasons.

Chief amongst these is the fact that many of the grooming prod-ucts bought by women, such as shampoos soaps and deodorants, are daily essentials.

When these products run out, users will not want to drive to the nearest supermarket to pick them up but instead will dash to their local convenience store for a top-up purchase.

As most people can’t do without these essentials, health & beauty users make for great c-store shop-pers. Which is why it is essential that retailers carry a health & beauty fixture that covers all daily essen-tials, as well as being well ranged and merchandised.

Another reason why the cat-egory is important to the conveni-ence channel is that, unlike many other categories, health & beauty has weathered the recent economic downturn relatively well (Mintel).

This is mainly due to a change in consumer spending habits, with increasing numbers trading down to value products.

However, research from Mintel suggests some consumers are pur-chasing more premium products as they cut down on more expen-sive salon treatments, effectively transferring new business to the high street.

These trends open a window of opportunity for independent retailers, one in which they can attempt to capitalise on consumers trading down to value products in the daily essentials sector, while also encouraging higher spend by stocking premium lines.

However, there is a case to sug-gest that convenience retailers are not tapping into this sales potential.

“Unfortunately 18% of shoppers do not know that Toiletries are sold in their local convenience store,” says Nick Widdowson, Partners for Growth and Unilever Range and Merchandising Controller.

“As awareness can be low, and purchase is on impulse, retailers need to make it obvious to their customers that they stock Toiletries so PoS is essential for retailers to advertise their range.”

He adds: “Top-up purchases form a large part of sales, so sim-plicity and visibility are key to a successful toiletries fixture, to en-able shoppers to find what they want quickly and easily.”

Market

Every household in the UK buys into the toiletries market. And, with certain items such as tooth-paste, shower gel and deodorant being used every day, when they are running low or, worse, run out, shoppers look to replace them as quickly as possible.

Research from Europanel sug-gests 34% of convenience store shoppers are looking to buy toi-letries, while toiletries shoppers spend more than the average con-venience shopper, as they tend to use the visit to top up on other grocery items.

This makes the category poten-tially very valuable to the retailer.

Shoppers are more likely to buy core toiletries, such as shower products or deodorants, in con venience stores as these are the products they are most likely to need to replace quickly.

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