Better Brushing Habits Boost European Oral Care Sales

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The efforts of government agencies and product marketers to convince Europeans of the importance of better oral care appears to have paid off as sales of oral care products jumped more than 6% in 2006, according to a newly published study by global management consulting and market research firm Kline & Company.

"Many countries, particularly the less developed ones, are realizing the importance of daily brushing and flossing," says Deirdre McNulty, project manager for Kline Europe. "Across Europe, government-sponsored programs are working to educate children on the concept of good oral habits today that can help prevent problems in the future, and this shift in attitudes is driving up product sales."

Data from Kline's Global Cosmetics & Toiletries 2006 program indicates that oral care became the second fastest growing product class in the European cosmetics and toiletries market in 2006, trailing only skin care, which posted 6.5% growth. By comparison, annual growth in oral care product sales for other developed markets like the U.S. and Japan is hovering around the 3% mark.

"Europeans are not only focusing more on traditional oral care, but also on aesthetic treatments, like veneers and whitening, which are becoming more readily available," says McNulty.

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The trend is expected to continue, with sales of oral care products in Europe expected to grow by as much as 4.5% annually through 2011, surpassing Kline's growth forecasts for the overall personal care market.

As more Europeans seek to maintain healthy teeth for as long as possible, marketers are working alongside government agencies to support educational programs aimed at children. Their message: It's as much about nurturing a healthy body as it is about having an attractive smile. Oral care giants Colgate-Palmolive, GlaxoSmithKline, and Unilever have all developed global programs that teach school children and communities about dental hygiene, and they provide the necessary tools, including toothpaste and toothbrushes.

"These manufacturer-sponsored programs have helped to facilitate communication about oral care research and equipment," says McNulty. "In the process of raising awareness for good oral hygiene, these companies have raised awareness for their brands, like Colgate and Aquafresh, and the sales figures in this category reflect that."

"At one time, it was not unusual for Europeans to simply have all their teeth pulled at the first sign of trouble. The manufacturers are helping the public to recognize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," McNulty adds.

Global Cosmetics & Toiletries 2006 is the latest edition of Kline's annual service dedicated to assessing 21 product categories in the cosmetics, toiletries, and fragrance markets across 16 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and North America. The comprehensive program also features more than 250 company profiles and provides subscribers with the flexibility to purchase individual report volumes or sections.

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