Weakness in its multi-billion dollar Olay and Pantene beauty brands is at the heart of P&G’s recent market share declines.
“Global market shares in developed markets have improved but are still down over the previous year,” said Jon Moeller, P&G’s CFO during a Deutsche Bank-sponsored conference in Paris today.
“The work to do in developed markets is disproportionately on beauty. Over the last 175 years P&G has built the largest and most profitable beauty and grooming business in the world. We built more billion dollar beauty and grooming brands than L’Oreal and Unilever combined,” stated Jon. “But two of our largest brands – Pantene and Olay are losing share.” Olay, he noted, is particularly challenged in the U.S.
The two powerhouses collectively account for $5 billion in sales and account for 25% of its beauty-reporting segment. “Pantene is the largest hair care brand in the world and double the size of the next competitive brand,” said Jon, “and Olay is the largest facial skin care brand in the world.” Both were relatively small properties when acquired by P&G in the Richardson-Vicks acquisition in 1985.
The market share of P&G’s total U.S. business declined 0.2% in the last three months—an improvement from the 0.4% decline over the previous 12 months. (P&G did not break out beauty shares.)
“Both brands are underperforming. We know it. We are working hard to fix them,” said Jon. “Major changes in momentum in brands of this size don’t happen overnight. It will take some time.” The company is currently tapping into consumer insights to have beauty offerings meeting desired price tiers and product benefits, “without being over-skued or too complex,” said Jon.
Already P&G has introduced Olay Fresh Effects, a mid-tier youth-oriented line and Pantene Expert hair care to fill price and segment gaps. There is more innovation in the works, which he declined to discuss for competitive reasons. To communicate its strengths, P&G is adding more powerful claim messages on packaging, in commercials and at-shelf.
The return of former CEO A.G. Lafley two weeks ago is expected to reposition a spotlight on beauty. A just-announced corporate reorganization is also intended to strengthen the beauty and grooming business sectors with new heads reporting directly to A.G.. Deborah A. Henretta has been named Group President of Global Beauty and David S. Taylor has become Group President of Global Health and Grooming.
On marketing and advertising, P&G is shifting to more digital and social media to reduce costs, while creating fewer commercials but with stronger, broader messages. And with a laser-focus on efficiency, a workforce reduction that began last year will continue through 2016 aimed to cut non-manufacturing jobs by 16% to 22%.