Millennials have already been blamed for the downfall of several once-popular product categories — CDs, newspapers, maybe even cable TV. But while everyone was focused on the younger generation’s obsession with high tech replacements for those items, sales for a household staple have been declining steadily.
Bar soap — yes, bar soap — is the latest product category to see a decline thanks in part to young consumers. Market intelligence agency Mintel found that nearly half of U.S. consumers think that bar soaps are covered in germs and that they can potentially transfer harmful bacteria. And young consumers were far more likely to hold those beliefs than older consumers who are more used to bar soap.
But it’s probably not just those beliefs about germs that are causing more consumers to think twice about purchasing bar soap. There are also more options available to consumers today, like in-shower moisturizers. Specialty bath and shower products offer consumers potentially more benefits than bar soap. And even those who would buy bar soap in addition to those products can now choose lower end bars instead of fancy products that serve the same purposes as those new liquid shower products.
Soap companies may not be able to change everyone’s opinions about bar soaps and bacteria. But if they want to compete with all the other products out there, they need to present products that offer additional benefits or position their products in ways that will appeal to those consumers who are switching over to liquid soap products.
Take This Question Away From This Product Life Cycle Example
What products or services does your small business offer that may be loosing popularity with younger customers — and what are you doing to adapt?