Retail in Asia

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Beauty and personal care boost growth at Unilever, P&G

Unilever and Procter & Gamble (P&G), two of the world’s largest FMCG companies, reported half-year results and fiscal year results, respectively. 

Unilever reported a 2.7 percent rise in year-on-year turnover, up EUR30.4 billion (USD33.51 billion). Emerging markets grew by 10.6 percent, with a return to positive volume growth at 0.6 percent, led by China, which grew by 7.9 percent following an end to its pandemic restrictions. 

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Unilever’s Beauty & Wellbeing segment grew underlying sales by 9.1 percent, driven by Prestige Beauty, Health & Wellbeing, and Hair Care. Personal Care grew by 10.8 percent.

“My early immersion in the business has confirmed my belief in Unilever’s strong fundamentals,” said Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher. “The task ahead is to leverage these core strengths – supported by our simplified operating model – to drive improved performance and competitiveness. This is our absolute priority and it will mean bringing greater focus and sharper execution, with science-backed innovations and investment behind our brands.”

In Asia-Pacific and Africa, representing 44 percent of group turnover, the company reported a 9.1 percent underlying sales growth, with an 8 percent growth in price and a 1.1 percent growth in volume. India delivered high single-digit growth through both price and volume, while China grew high single-digit, with double-digit growth led by volume recovery in Q2. Indonesia declined mid single-digit as volumes softened, and the company adjusted pricing to regain competitiveness. 

However, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam all grew, with contributions from both price and volume. 

At P&G, which reported fourth quarter ending June 2023 and fiscal year 2023 results, Beauty and Grooming segments also offered solid performances. P&G reported fiscal year 2023 fourth quarter net sales of USD20.6 billion, up 5 percent versus the prior year. 

The beauty segment reported an 11 percent increase in organic sales compared to the same period last year. Haircare organic sales increased by high single digits, primarily due to increased pricing and positive product mix, but partially offset by volume declines in the Asia Pacific and Greater China regions. 

Skin and Personal Care organic sales increased steadily, owing to increased pricing, positive mix from the growth of the super-premium SK-II brand, and volume growth.

The growth of the Japanese SK-II brand was notable, as it rebounded from a prior year period that was impacted by pandemic-related lockdowns. 

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Overall, the beauty segment’s strong organic sales growth reflects the continued demand for personal care and beauty products, despite the leftover challenges posed by the pandemic.

“The April-June quarter provided a very strong finish to fiscal year 2023 – top-line growth, bottom-line growth, and cash generation,” said Jon Moeller, P&G’s chairman, president and CEO. “The team met or exceeded our going-in plans for sales, earnings, and cash in a difficult operating environment and despite significant cost headwinds.”